ORLP Grants Announced to Increase Outdoor Access Through Local Urban Park Projects

This week, the National Park Service announced 19 parks and trails projects to improve recreation and outdoor access in underserved communities across the country. As part of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, these new and upgraded parks will benefit communities that have historically lacked equitable access to parks and open space. 

Of those projects selected to receive federal funding is the City of Cleveland’s Clark Avenue Park Development Project, which The Trust for Public Land is helping to lead. Clark-Fulton and Stockyards are two of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods with rich cultural diversity that has characterized the west side of Cleveland for generations. The funding will improve infrastructure and landscaping, and install a splash pad, play equipment, basketball court, outdoor game tables and park benches at the Clark Avenue Park.  

“Equitable access to the outdoors helps people lead healthier, happier, more prosperous lives. This year’s awardees demonstrate both the importance of and demand for federal park funding. The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program is a tremendous asset for communities across the country and we’re excited to see the benefits,” said Alex Schaefer, Senior Legislative Representative with The Trust for Public Land. 

In 2017, during the development of the 2018 Cleveland Climate Action Plan, the City of Cleveland signed on to the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, a national effort led by The Trust for Public Land to ensure all U.S. city residents live within a 10-minute walk (or ½ mile) from a quality park. With 83% of Cleveland residents currently living within a 10-minute walk of a park, the city has worked with The Trust for Public Land to analyze where new and improved parks could have the largest impact for equitable access. This Clark Avenue project represents one of the parks identified through this work. A new park in the Clark Fulton community projects to serve 64% of the resident population within the targeted census tract, providing first time access for 2,250 people who do not currently have access to a park within a 10- minute walk. 

The Trust for Public Land is working to ensure this funding is used to bring parks and public lands where they are needed most. By advocating for and helping to establish the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program and supporting projects that will serve communities who do not currently have access to quality outdoor spaces, the organization is working to drive this funding towards communities which do not historically have access to the outdoors because of legacies of disinvestment.  The Trust for Public Land also continues to work to expand national parks and public lands into metropolitan areas where most Americans live. 

The Trust for Public Land recently published a groundbreaking report detailing significant inequities in park space and distribution. Across the 100 most populous U.S. cities, residents of neighborhoods where the majority of people identify as Black, Hispanic and Latinx, Indigenous and Native American, or Asian American and Pacific Islander have access to an average of 44 percent less park space per capita than residents of neighborhoods that are majority white. Residents of low-income neighborhoods have access to 42 percent less park space than residents of high-income neighborhoods.   

About The Trust for Public Land  

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.  

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