Burlington will use the $300,000 grant it received last week from the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative to fund two construction projects, outdoor equipment, and scholarships to make recreation activities available year-round to all Burlingtonians.
A bike park developed in Leddy Park will receive $50,000 from the grant.
Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Director Cindi Wight said there had been lots of interest in a bike park with ramps and obstacles like a skate park but features a dirt surface in place of concrete. The project is expected to start around the end of fall or the summer of 2023.
The Ethan Allen Homestead will also receive $50,000 to build a new wetland walk on the property. The construction of the walk will begin next year.
The remaining funds will go to initiatives that will make outdoor activities accessible. The city will purchase equipment using grant funds to loan to people who do not have equipment for outdoor activities, such as snowshoes, cross country skis, and camping gear.
Burlington will also purchase a trailer filled with bikes for children that will do the same tasks in conjunction with Local Motion, which brings bikes to schools in Vermont to teach them how to ride.
Wight explained that camping and winter sports equipment would be put into trailers and then transported to places where people can utilize the equipment. Last winter, park employees brought cross-country skis and snowshoes into Schmanska Park for the surrounding gatherings of the neighborhood’s winter festivities.
“We’re trying to meet people where they’re at,” said Wight.
The Community Sailing Center received $50,000 from the grant to provide sailing camp scholarships for kids of color. Wight said that the intention is to increase the representation in sailing so that younger children of color can see young people who look like them in sailing camp leadership.
Wight said that the park department would also utilize the funds to employ a facilitator focusing on introducing more Burlingtonians to outdoor sports.
The facilitator will serve as a bridge between outdoor gear stores that want to assist the city in building diversity and equity in outdoor activities, the parks department, and communities of color.
This article originally appeared on the Burlington Free Press.