Sports fields in Pasco and Richland will be improved with the help of almost $450,000 in state money.
The money will be used at Columbia Point Marina Park in Richland, Highland Park in Pasco and the Pasco Little League Fields.
The three projects getting grants are among 32 picked by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board in a competitive process. Matching community resources, which can include money or labor, are required.
The state noted that nearly $1 billion is spent in Washington on ball sports and that 3.9 million people in the state participate in those sports annually. The fields also contribute to healthy lifestyles and reduced future health care costs.
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The Richland Parks and Recreation Department will use one grant to add lighting to an open field in Columbia Point Marina Park. It is used for ultimate Frisbee, lacrosse and flag football.
The project will double the number of lighted, multipurpose sports fields in Richland. The city also has a lighted multipurpose field at Badger Mountain Park, where heavy use has made maintaining the field a challenge.
Richland will contribute $121,375 in cash and staff labor to match the state grant award.
The Pasco Little League will use a grant of $195,000 to renovate its facilities, which include six fields, a clubhouse and a storage shed built 25 years ago at 1728 W. A St.
The Little League will install lighting on two fields, replace safety netting on six fields and pave the gravel and dirt parking lot. Use is expected to increase from 600 to 1,000 kids once renovations are completed.
The Pasco Little League will match the state grant with cash and labor.
In the other Pasco project, the city of Pasco will use $133,500 to install football field lights and make improvements to better serve people with disabilities at the Highland Park football field at 500 N. Wehe Ave.
The city will add bleachers on the main field and build paths to the bleachers and to viewing areas at two other fields.
The Pasco Youth Football and Cheerleading program had 400 kids a decade ago, but 1,500 kids are expected to enroll in the program this fall. The park also is seeing new users, such as lacrosse players.
The city will match the state grant with city money and cash donations.