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Grants help provide a boost to parks and trails in the First State

Parks and trails up and down Delaware will get a boost, thanks to new funding from the state’s Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Trails program.

The state announced last week that it’s giving nearly $1.3 million to 14 parks and trails projects. More than a third of them involve building or upgrading playground equipment.

One of the largest grants in this round is going toward constructing new playground equipment at Glasgow Regional Park. This $200,000 project will be designed to be inclusive of children with autism and special needs.

Robert Ehemann, who runs the 30-year-old grant program, says it will be the first park of its kind in the state.

“It’s a more quiet space for folks with those types of physical disabilities, so it’s designed to help them acclimate to a different environment," said Ehemann.

Another $200,000 grant will help the town of Millville, just west of Bethany Beach, build its first-ever park. That plans involve two playgrounds, a community center and garden, and a fitness challenge course.  


Other grants will help make nature areas more accessible and educational. $50,000 will be spent on helping the city of Milford build an education pavilion and three nature overlooks along the Gary L. Emory Nature Trail on Goat Island.

The largest grant of  $275,000 will help build a one-mile connected trail in Jester Park in New Castle County.

Ehemann adds that these projects are essential for bringing communities together.

“It just becomes a nice place for people to come together and actually enjoy public spaces," he said.

These grants represent the latest in Gov. Jack Markell’s Trails and Pathways program to create a connected system of trails -- and encourage more recreation and alternative modes of transportation.

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