(The Center Square) — Georgia is doling out more than $225 million in federal taxpayer money to pay for various community upgrades, from accessible walkways in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park to restoring a tennis and pickleball court in Athens-Clarke County.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced the grants for 142 qualified projects, which will go to non-profits and local governments to maintain or improve recreational facilities in Qualified Census Tracts.
"With our partners on both the local and state levels, we’ve prioritized helping Georgia’s communities further recover from the pandemic with a bottom-up approach," Kemp, a Republican, said in a statement. "Today, we’re investing these funds to see that those most heavily impacted have even more resources at their disposal, and I want to thank our partners for helping us make that possible."
The state is pulling funding for the grants, which range in value from $8,136.70 to $2.2 million, from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program. Recipients can use the grants for repair or maintenance due to the increased use of public facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Greene County Recreation Department received the smallest grant — an $8,136.70 allocation to replace a more than 20-year-old scoreboard on one of its fields. Organizers say the project, one of eight department projects to receive funding under the latest tranche of federal dollars, will reduce disputes and complaints from patrons playing and supporting sports programs.
Fifty projects — including those in Atlanta, Carrollton, Gainesville, Metter and Vidalia — received grants of $2.2 million. In Almo, the city plans to upgrade the facilities in a local park, while officials in Walker County plan to use their grant to transform an unused grassy area and a dilapidated parking lot into a community gathering space to promote physical activity.
"These investments will have a profound impact on creating opportunities for physical activity, economic growth and enhanced accessibility," state Rep. Mike Cameron, R-Rossville, said in a statement about the more than $4.8 million headed to various jurisdictions in Walker County.