State grants have been approved for two projects in Ann Arbor: $300,000 for a proposed Ann Arbor skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park, and $300,000 for improvements at the Gallup Park canoe livery. A staff member for the lobbyist Kirk Profit alerted Ann Arbor city council members and staff about the news on Wednesday morning, Dec. 7. Profit was in Lansing attending the meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board, where the grant awards were announced.
The city had been notified last month that these projects ranked in the top 12 out of 100 applications statewide for funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The skatepark application ranked 12th out of the 100 applications, based on a scoring system used to evaluate the grants. The Gallup Park application ranked 2nd. There was a cap of $300,000 per project.
At its March 15, 2011 meeting, the city’s park advisory commission had voted to recommend supporting the grant applications. The city council made a similar vote of support on March 21. Council’s resolution of support prioritized the skatepark project over the Gallup renovations – based on the opportunity to leverage $400,000 of matching funds from the Washtenaw County parks & recreation commission.
A press release issued late Wednesday morning from the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark indicated that the state grant allows the group to reach $800,000 in fundraising, and assures that construction of the skatepark will move forward. [.pdf of FAAS press release]