Efforts to renovate Heritage Park in Athens received a boost on Monday.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has announced a $500,000 parks and recreation grant for Athens for renovations at Heritage Park.

The grant is part of $6,370,000 awarded to communities throughout the state from the Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program.

“Local leaders need resources to provide recreational activities for their communities and this is a way to help make it happen,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson said. “We are pleased to announce these grants and look forward to the recreation projects that result from this assistance.”

Renovations at Heritage Park will include Architectural and engineering work, construction of a hard surface ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) walking trail that is approximately 1,100 feet long, demolition of an existing non-ADA youth baseball/softball field and construction of a youth-size 200-foot to 225-foot ADA field. It also includes construction of ADA access and parking spaces to serve the entire park.

“These renovations at Heritage Park will allow the whole family, regardless of physical disabilities, to enjoy time together at this park by increasing its ADA accessibility,” said Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville). “I am very pleased these improvements will be made possible through this TDEC grant and appreciate the hard work from our local officials in submitting a successful grant application.”

“These grants will make critical improvements at Heritage Park that will give our citizens with disabilities greater access to our baseball and softball fields,” said Rep. Mark Cochran (R-Englewood). “I thank Athens Parks and Recreation for their partnership in making Athens a safer, more accessible and healthier community for our citizens.”

The LPRF program provides state funding for the purchase of land for parks, natural areas, greenways and recreational facilities. LPRF funds also may be used for trail development and capital projects in parks, natural areas and greenways.

The LWCF program provides grants to states to administer to state and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. The grants require a 50% match.

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