LANSING -State Representatives Tom Cochran (D- Mason), Andy Schor (D-Lansing) and Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) have announced that Ingham County parks are in line to receive Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) grants included in a recent appropriations bill signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Outdoor recreation is important to our communities and to Michigan’s tourism industry,” said Cochran. “The improvements these grants aim to provide will benefit residents and help draw tourists to mid-Michigan.”

The trust fund began with an agreement in 1976 to balance conservation management and oil and gas drilling on state-managed land. The original intent of the program was to replace one non-renewable resource (minerals) with another non-renewable resource (land) and create a permanent endowment. Designed as a sustainable funding source for public outdoor recreation projects throughout Michigan, the trust fund provides grants that fund the development and acquisition of parks and green space, create viable trail networks, provide valuable outdoor experiences in urban areas and generate economic benefits to communities.

“Improving our parks is good for our families and also good for the mid-Michigan economy,” said Schor. “Recreational opportunities can help draw more people and families to our communities, and that in turn can help improve our business climate. These grants are a win for everyone.”

“I am glad to see the mid-Michigan area receiving a fair share of these grants,” said Singh. “Patriarche and Wonch Parks are important to the East Lansing and Meridian Township communities, and local governments are grateful for these grants to help maintain and improve these parks and trails.”

In Ingham County, three Natural Resources Trust Fund development grants totaling $645,000 were awarded to the city of East Lansing, the city of Lansing and Meridian Township. These projects are collaborative efforts to reach the communities urban planning goals for recreation. The grant-funded projects are to the:

City of Lansing: $300,000 for Frances Park Trail Improvement

The Lansing River Trail runs from the city of East Lansing to the East, Holt to the South and almost to Delta Township to the West. The proposed development includes increasing greenspace and improving fishing opportunity along the Grand River, adding parking and extending the regional trail from Frances Park to Delta Township.

City of East Lansing: $300,000 for Patriarche Park Playground Replacement

Patriarche Park is a popular park that is used by residents of the city of East Lansing, adjacent communities and Michigan State University students and staff. The existing wood playground structure built in 1995 contains CCA-treated lumber and no longer meets playground safety standards. The proposed development project includes a universally accessible playground for preschool-age and school-age children, rain garden, access walks and signs to interpret the rain garden. The project epitomizes partnership and collaboration with input from the community and all matching funds coming from corporate, business and private donors and volunteer labor.

Meridian Township: $45,000 for Wonch Park Pathway Development

Wonch Park is located along the Red Cedar River. The development project will include adding about 2,055 linear feet of paved universally accessible asphalt pathway from the existing parking lot to create a looped path within the park along the river.

Since 1976, more than $965 million has been awarded in Trust Fund grants for land acquisition and development of public recreation facilities in all 83 Michigan counties, including $164 million for trail-related projects. For more information about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, visit