Lamar Receives $100,000 GoCO Grant for Outdoor Recreation Development

Healthy Places Downtown Office

Healthy Places Downtown Office

Greater Outdoors Colorado announced this past Friday, October 23rd, that Lamar is one of six pilot communities selected to receive $100,000 in planning grants which can be leveraged to up to $5M to implement projects allowing more kids more access to outdoor recreation.

The State of Colorado is using up to $25M  in GOCO lottery proceeds for its Inspire Initiative grant program. Lamar was one of six communities that were included in the top tier of initial funding.  Thirty-four communities from across the state applied for funding.  The $100,000 is seed money which will be used to plan projects for submission for a funding grant from between $1M and $5M which will be awarded next year.  The projects will be designed to allow more access to parks, trails, various youth programs and other means by which local youth can enjoy outdoor amenities in their towns.

Governor Hickenlooper explained the Inspire Initiative program during his town forum held in Lamar this past summer and Emily Nieschburg, Director of Healthy Places and Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Recreation Director, have been working on the grant application almost as soon as it was announced. According to City Administrator, John Sutherland, during the Lamar City Council’s meeting on October 26th, funding to the city on the initial grant has been approved.  The announcement was carried in the Denver newspaper media this past Friday and is available on the GoCO website.  The communities that received the $100,000 funding grant include: Denver’s Westwood neighborhood, the Northeast Metro Coalition, Lafayette, Lake County, San Luis Valley and Lamar.

Lamar is working towards its final year of a three year, $1M grant from the Colorado Health Foundation Healthy Places Communities and Nieschburg recently announced another $1M grant has been awarded to the community to help develop the Lamar Loop, a seven mile walking/biking trail which will encompass the town and connect various neighborhoods to it. For the past two to three years, the local Healthy Places group has been working to develop programs which will reduce and curtail the level of youth obesity in Prowers County. The county has been listed as having one of the highest percentages of obesity levels in the state.  As many as 20 different organizations have been partnering to work to increase access to the outdoors for area youth and the youth have been given opportunities to voice their own needs, wants and concerns regarding outdoor activities as well as become educated regarding healthy eating choices.  Additional announcements on future funding is expected this week and a two day visit will be held this week in Lamar by members of the Colorado Health Foundation.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyEducationFeaturedHealthHot TopicsLamarProwers CountyRecreationSchoolSportsStateYouth


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