2023 Recreation Grant Program and Applications
- April 3, 2023 – Recreation Grant Program and Applications published
- May 26, 2023 – All grant applications due
- July 19, 2023 – The MetRec Board of Directors will vote on the recreation grant award recipients at its regularly scheduled meeting.
MetRec encourages all prospective grant applicants to contact the District Manager, Derrick Nehrenberg (719) 221-9125, about their grant application ideas prior to submission to ensure they are eligible and that they fit with the best funding purpose.
Recreation grant funding purpose
MetRec aims to create thriving environments that support its residents’ physical, mental, and emotional health.
Our grant funding will prioritize projects that solve our community’s vital recreation needs. By fostering collaboration between public and non-profit sectors, we strive to develop innovative facilities, operations, and programs that address our citizens’ unique requirements and aspirations. Emphasis will be placed on maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure, supporting and elevating local recreation non-profit operations, catalyzing innovative recreation programs and projects, and strategic recreation planning.
Colorado created parks and recreation special districts to promote its inhabitants’ health, wellness, and general welfare. Special districts are local governments governed by elected directors who are responsible for determining the vision and mission of a district and allocating funds generated through property taxes within the boundaries of a district.
The Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District (MetRec) encompasses most of Gunnison County and a small northwestern portion of Saguache County (map below). MetRec’s district is subdivided into a North Subdistrict, which coincides with the boundaries of the Crested Butte Fire Protection District, and a South Subdistrict, which includes everything outside the North Subdistrict and within the MetRec district. MetRec is unique because it enables our geographically associated groups of communities to pool their tax resources to create regional recreation solutions together.
In 2018, MetRec’s voters approved ballot issue 7D that repealed TABOR, returning the mill levy tax to 1 mill to fund qualifying expenditures district-wide. In 2022, MetRec voters within the North Subdistrict approved ballot issue 6B to increase their property tax mill levy by 2 mills for a total of 3 mills. The net 2 mill levy tax increase collected in the North Subdistrict can only be spent on recreation purposes in the North Subdistrict and not TV translator services or administrative expenses.
To streamline MetRec’s funding opportunities, it has merged its grant programs into three funding purposes: capital construction, non-profit operation support, and community collaboration. These three recreation purposes are referred to as capital, operations, and collaboration grants and are designed to merge both the funding purposes of the 2022 North Subdistrict ballot issue as well as district-wide funding into a single streamlined application process.
MetRec stakeholders have consistently stated a need for multi-year grants to formulate and attain multi-year recreational goals. Hence, MetRec seeks to pilot multi-year operations and collaboration grants beginning in 2023, subject to annual appropriations.
Therefore, five types of grants are available this year.
- Pilot multi-year operations
- Pilot multi-year collaboration
Please refer to the North Subdistrict Ballot Issue 6B language below for more information about qualifying grant expenditures.
MetRec encourages all applicants to discuss their intentions to apply for 2023 recreation grants with the district manager before submission to ensure their grant application idea is eligible and that they fit with the best funding purpose.
Grant and award process
MetRec desires to fund grant applications promoting vital recreation opportunities and excellence for our communities. The process and decision-making framework are as follows:
- There will be one grant cycle for all recreation grants.
- An independent grant review committee will score and rank order applications within each of the five grant funding purposes.
- The grant reviewer scores will be submitted to the MetRec Recreation Subcommittee.
- MetRec’s Recreation Subcommittee will provide funding options to the MetRec board for discussion and approval. District-wide funds can be awarded to organizations within the North and South Subdistricts, and North Subdistrict funds can only be awarded to organizations located within the North Subdistrict.
- The MetRec board will award the recreation grants at its regular board meeting on July 19, 2023. The elected MetRec board is solely responsible for awarding recreation grant funds annually to ensure that the funds align with the grant reviewers’ scores, our residents’ recreation needs, and MetRec’s strategic aims.
MetRec’s 2023 recreation grant schedule, encompassing the recreation grant program and application preparation through MetRec’s awarding of recreation grants, is as follows:
- December 2022 – MetRec’s Recreation Subcommittee met with MetRec’s staff to discuss the grant funding categories, establish a tentative recreation program planning and grant application calendar, and tentative funding levels of the categories district-wide and within the North Subdistrict.
- January 2023
- MetRec’s North Advisory and South Advisory Committees (5 members each) met to review and provide feedback on MetRec’s grant planning for its 2023 recreation grants program.
- The district manager met with numerous individual stakeholders to gain feedback about MetRec’s 2023 grant planning.
- The board discussed the progress and feedback received about its recreation grants program planning for the benefit of the public and the district’s staff.
- The MetRec board decided to expand the North and South District Advisory Committee members from five to seven members each to ensure more stakeholder voices are included in MetRec’s recreation grant and strategic planning.
- February 2023
- The district manager met with numerous individual stakeholders to gather input and listen to creative solutions.
- MetRec’s Board of Directors met to discuss the progress of its 2023 recreation grant planning at its regularly scheduled board meeting.
- March 2023
- MetRec held an Advisory Committee meeting to gather feedback and input about MetRec’s 2023 grant programs and application documents.
- The MetRec district manager continued to meet with stakeholders one-on-one to gain feedback.
- MetRec’s Advisory Subcommittee met to provide feedback about the 2023 Draft Recreation Grant Program and Application, the 2023 Strategic Recreation Needs Assessment Survey, and the need for creating a regional recreation master plan.
- MetRec hosted a public recreation work session before its regularly scheduled board meeting.
- MetRec published a draft Strategic Recreation Needs Assessment Survey to receive feedback from the public.
- MetRec’s 2023 Recreation Grant Program documents and grant applications were updated based on all the feedback.
- April 3, 2023 – MetRec will publish its 2023 recreation grants program and applications on its website.
- May 2023
- May 1, 2023 – MetRec will publish its 2023 Strategic Recreation Needs Assessment Survey to guide strategic planning and decision-making for grant awards.
- May 26, 2023 – All grant applications are due.
- June 2023
- June 2 – The grant applications will be distributed to an independent grant review committee comprised of members who are not directly affiliated with grant applicants.
- June 21 – MetRec will report and discuss the results of its 2023 Strategic Recreation Needs Assessment Survey at its regularly scheduled board meeting. The survey results will guide strategic planning and decision-making for grant awards.
- June 29 – The recreation grant review committee will meet and score all the grant applications.
- June 31 – The 2023 Strategic Recreation Needs Assessment Survey period will close.
- July 2023
- July 7 – MetRec’s Recreation Subcommittee and staff will meet to discuss the grant reviewers’ scores and provide at least two recreation grant award options for the board of directors.
- July 12 – The 2023 Strategic Recreation Needs Assessment Survey results will be distributed to the public and board. The board will use the survey results to help guide its funding decisions and strategic planning.
- July 19 – The MetRec Board of Directors will vote on the recreation award recipients at its regularly scheduled board meeting
2023 recreation budget
MetRec’s 2023 Recreation Grant Program is funded by two distinct tax revenue sources, a District-wide property tax, and a North Subdistrict property tax. Organizations located in the South Subdistrict and North Subdistrict may be funded from the District-wide fund, whereas only organizations located in the North Subdistrict qualify for North Subdistrict funds.
For the North Subdistrict, MetRec is required to distribute the annual property tax funds as follows:
- Capital: 30-60% (spent annually or held in capital reserve)
- Operations: 30-60% (spent annually)
- Collaboration: 10-40% (spent annually or held in capital reserve)
In 2023, for the North Subdistrict fund, the district has tentatively budgeted the grant award funds as follows:
- Capital: 60% (held in capital reserve)
- Operations: 30% (spent in 2023)
- Collaboration: 10% ($70,000 spent in 2023 and $15,508 held in capital reserve)
2023 recreation Grant applications
MetRec’s capital grants are financial awards provided to municipalities, government agencies, or non-profit organizations to fund the planning, development, and improvement of recreational facilities or spaces. These grants can be used for various projects, including but not limited to planning and building new parks, playgrounds, sports fields, trailheads, trails, trail amenities, and indoor recreation facilities.
These grants aim to promote community health and wellness by providing accessible and enjoyable recreation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.
- Municipalities, government agencies, and non-profits
- Based within MetRec’s district boundaries
- The product of the capital project must be available to the public
- Support the development of recreational facilities, amenities, spaces, trails, and trailheads that meet vital recreation needs
- Focus recreation capital development near or between population centers
- Leverage funding outside Gunnison County
Project Budget & Match Requirements
A 75% match of the total project cost is required, of which 10% must be a cash match from the project sponsor.
Funding Minimum and Maximum
$10,000 and 100,000 in 2023
- Detailed capital project budget
- Proof of non-profit status
- Letters of support from community partners
- Any additional supporting documentation
Complete the Google Form application and upload the attachments as a single PDF document on our contact page. Incomplete grant applications will not be reviewed.
Deadline for submission: May 26, 2023
Can my organization apply for more than one grant?
Yes, however, MetRec strongly encourages organizations to apply for one grant per grant cycle that will provide the most vital recreation impacts for the district’s citizens. If your organization believes MetRec funding support for more than one grant is vital to our community, please contact the district manager before submitting your applications.
Will the timing of MetRec’s grant cycle change in 2024?
In 2024, MetRec anticipates publishing grant applications in February for May funding award decisions.
How do I decide between submitting collaboration vs. capital grants and collaboration vs. operations grants?
Please refer to the ballot language below or contact the district manager. For now, operations grants are intended to elevate ongoing operations. In comparison, collaboration grants are designed to support creative initiatives or support ongoing programs and services, or smaller capital and operations projects at a lower funding level.
Will the capital grant fund maximum remain at $100,000?
No. MetRec anticipates raising the maximum award substantially as our community’s strategic capital construction opportunities become more evident.
Why is MetRec tentatively proposing $100K per year as a possibility for the pilot multi-year operations grant?
According to the feedback MetRec has received, losing recreation staff due to the cost of living in our area is a top threat to non-profit organizations. Hiring, training, and keeping passionate and experienced people working in the recreation sector is a big key to our recreation community’s success. If MetRec’s goal is to support and elevate recreation operations, MetRec would like to truly make a strong impact. The amount sounds like a lot, and it is. But the amount is also relative to an organization’s operating budget. Some organizations have large operating budgets, and it could take a step change in MetRec’s traditional funding levels to elevate operations in a sustainable and impactful way.
North subdistrict ballot language
Passed November 2022
SHALL THE NORTH SUBDISTRICT OF GUNNISON COUNTY METROPOLITAN RECREATION DISTRICT TAXES BE INCREASED BY AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $930,000.00 IN 2023 (THE FIRST FISCAL YEAR) AND BY WHATEVER AMOUNTS MAY BE GENERATED ANNUALLY THEREAFTER BY AN IMPOSITION OF AN ADDITIONAL MILL LEVY OF 2.0 MILLS FOR A NEW TOTAL MILL LEVY OF 3.0 MILLS UPON TAXABLE PROPERTY WITHIN THE NORTHERN SUBDISTRICT, OR SUCH LESSER AMOUNT AS THE BOARD OF THE GUNNISON COUNTY METROPOLITAN RECREATION DISTRICT MAY ANNUALLY DETERMINE COMMENCING WITH TAXES COLLECTED IN 2023 FOR TAXES DUE FOR 2022.
THE FUNDS SHALL BE USED WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE NORTH SUBDISTRICT FOR THE FOLLOWING PURPOSES:
30-60% OF SUCH FUNDS SHALL BE ALLOCATED FOR THE PURPOSES OF CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION OF TRAILS, FIELDS, HOCKEY RINKS, CULTURAL CENTERS, RECREATION CENTERS, OR OTHER PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS, ACCESSIBLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, THAT SUPPORT CULTURAL OR ACTIVE RECREATION (OTHER THAN TELEVISION) AND/OR THE ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY OR EASEMENTS THAT PERMANENTLY PROVIDE OR SUPPORT ACCESS TO SUCH RECREATION. SUCH FUNDS MAY BE SPENT ANNUALLY OR PUT IN A CAPITAL RESERVE FUND;
30-60% OF SUCH FUNDS SHALL BE ALLOCATED FOR THE PURPOSES OF SUPPORTING LOCAL NON-PROFITS THAT SUPPORT RECREATION, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO OPERATIONS, TRAIL MAINTENANCE, ACCESS, EDUCATION, SAFETY, AND EQUIPMENT. THE DISTRICT MUST SPEND THESE FUNDS ANNUALLY;
10-40% OF SUCH FUNDS SHALL BE ALLOCATED TO ANY MUNICIPALITY OR GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR LOCAL NON-PROFIT FOR THE PURPOSES OF MAINTAINING THE QUALITY OF RECREATIONAL EXPERIENCES BY PROPERTY TAX OWNERS ON LANDS ACCESSIBLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, INCLUDING OPERATING AND/OR CAPITAL COSTS, SUCH AS BUT NOT LIMITED TO CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF TRAILS, BATHROOMS, PARKING, SIGNAGE, EDUCATION, AND ENFORCEMENT. SUCH FUNDS MAY BE SPENT ANNUALLY OR PUT IN A CAPITAL RESERVE FUND.
AND SHALL THE DISTRICT BE AUTHORIZED TO COLLECT AND RETAIN AND SPEND ALL REVENUES FROM SUCH TAXES AND THE EARNINGS FROM THE INVESTMENT OF SUCH REVENUES WITH FUNDS MANAGED IN AN ACCOUNT DEDICATED TO SUPPORTING INITIATIVES IDENTIFIED IN THIS BALLOT MEASURE AND NECESSARILY SEPARATE FROM GENERAL DISTRICT FUNDS AS A VOTER APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE AND AN EXCEPTION TO THE LIMITS WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE APPLY UNDER ARTICLE X SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION OR SECTION 29-1- 301 COLORADO REVISED STATUTES OR ANY OTHER LAW?