Michigan Gov. Whitmer announces parks investment proposal

Gov. proposes spending total of $400 million into state parks, trails, recreational facilities

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (State of Michigan)

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce a proposal to invest millions into state parks and recreational facilities.

The live stream for this event has ended.

Whitmer is proposing to invest $150 million into Michigan’s public recreational facilities in an effort to modernize parks and attract tourism and economic development following the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Tuesday.

Last month, Whitmer proposed investing a separate $250 million of COVID relief funding into Michigan parks and trails.

“These two new investment programs, totaling $400 million, mark a once-in-a-generation chance to improve quality of life for our residents, support local economies and bring people back to Michigan as the state continues its recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These investments will ensure our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of natural beauty and outdoor spaces so prized by Michiganders. I look forward to working with the Legislature to secure this investment for our communities.”

The state of Michigan has received billions of dollars in COVID relief funding from the federal government amid the pandemic.

Over the summer, state lawmakers are expected to determine how to spend $6.5 billion in discretionary U.S. coronavirus funding. Both the Michigan House and Senate have already passed spending bills that would use federal COVID relief funding to help hospitals and nursing homes struggling financially due to the pandemic.

Tuesday’s announcement also comes days after the Michigan Legislature approved Whitmer’s proposed record $17 billion budget for the state’s K-12 schools.

More: Michigan Legislature approves major boost in K-12 funding

The remainder of the state budget still needs to be sorted out among lawmakers before Michigan’s fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

“I am hopeful that the Legislature will work quickly to approve a state budget that supports small businesses, fixes our crumbling roads and bridges, expands access to childcare and grows our economy,” Whitmer said in a statement last week.

Related: Low vaccination rates could impact Detroit school funding

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.