Missouri City capped off 2017 by being the recipient of three grant awards for parks and recreation programming: the National Recreation and Park Association’s Walk With Ease Instructor Training Grant, the United States Tennis Association’s Blended Lines Grant and a U.S. Lacrosse First Stick Program grant.
“As we maintain a tight budget, our staff has become aware of how crucial public/private partnerships are to reaching business plan goals,” City Manager Anthony J. Snipes said. “These three grants will result in an enhanced quality-of-life for residents, and I am extremely proud of the creative ways city staff are growing and expanding our recreational programming.”
Sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Walk With Ease Instructor Training Grant, awarded to 250 recipients nationwide, will be used to train two staff members on how to help residents improve their social interactions, as well as their health and fitness levels through guided walking programs.
Brian Barker, Recreation Specialist for Fitness, Athletics and Facilities, will oversee the grant and participate in the training webinar in January. Depending on the grantor’s timeline for funds distribution and training, staff expects to have the program ready in the spring.
The United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Blended Lines Grant is a 100 percent reimbursement grant that allows tennis facilities to create blended lines on tennis courts, which are designed to create a smaller playing surface for junior tennis programs.
The blended line is a light, shadow-like line painted by professionals on regular sized tennis courts. This allows adults to play on the court, while allowing youth to learn on the same court, using the smaller dimensions highlighted by the blended lines. The USTA grant funded blended lines on the front seven courts at the Recreation and Tennis Center, 2701 Cypress Point Dr.
“Before USTA introduced the blended line movement, tennis was taught on a full-sized regulation court, regardless of a player’s age or size,” Missouri City Tennis Administrator Cristina Escamos said. “With the success other sports have demonstrated with lower goals, smaller fields and youth-sized equipment, USTA introduced blended lines for 10 and under tennis. These new lines will now allow us to launch new junior tennis programs in January 2018, including new Saturday morning classes.”
The US Lacrosse First Stick Program grant provides developing lacrosse programs 20 full sets of lacrosse equipment, including player sticks, shoulder pads, arm pads, gloves and lacrosse helmets with facemasks and chinstraps. The grant also provides a complimentary US Lacrosse membership for the 20 new players and a coach membership for two adults. With a retail value of $6,000, the grant will supply new equipment for participants in the city’s lacrosse program and alleviate the financial burden of those who want to begin playing lacrosse.
“I had the opportunity to use this grant while working in Illinois and Michigan to help support their growing lacrosse programs in those areas and look forward to growing our own ‘Show Me City’ lacrosse programming,” said Jason Mangum, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Our lacrosse program, Mayhem Lacrosse, will continue in January and focus on new and developing players by modeling the US Lacrosse Athlete Development Model.”
This is not the first time Missouri City has received grant funding for Parks and Recreation programming and amenities. In 2016, the city received a $50,000 Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) grant – the highest level of funding from the LCEF – for the Quail Valley North Park Playground Replacement project. That same year, Missouri City created the nonprofit Missouri City Parks Foundation to facilitate recreation and special events. In 2017, the foundation moved forward with its first strategic priority, the future Veterans Memorial slated for construction in the City Hall Complex. Learn more about the initiative at http://bit.ly/2mrchSy.