Federal Funding for City Parks


Easy access to parks, green spaces, and recreation opportunities is critical to the well-being of urban communities. From improving the health and wellness of residents to creating a healthier physical environment, city parks are vital to helping America’s cities thrive and remain competitive. Yet funding for these public assets is not meeting the growing demand.

City Parks Alliance advocates and develops policies for greater federal investment in city parks, is at the forefront of identifying new funding sources and strategies to ensure equitable allocation of park funding throughout cities, and highlights grant opportunities that leaders can access to support their local parks.

The Great American Outdoors Act

On August 4, 2020 the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law. The bill provides $900 million in permanent and dedicated annual funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and invests up to $9.5 billion to address priority repairs in our national parks and other public lands.

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program

The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, established in 2014, is a nationally competitive grant program funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The ORLP focuses on providing outdoor recreation in disadvantaged communities within urban areas. The National Park Service has funds available for land acquisition, new park development, or the renovation of existing parks, all with the goal of reconnecting people with the outdoors.

The Department of Interior opened the seventh application round with more than $224 million in grant funding for local communities across the United States. This is the largest grant funding round since the launch of the program.

The seventh application round is now closed. Additional information can be found here.


Read Our New Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Report

This report provides information on the Land & Water Conservation Fund urban park grant program called the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership or (ORLP). The report highlights the health, economic and environmental benefits of city parks, provides ORLP case studies, and mayoral testimonials.

Parks as Infrastructure

Parks, by their nature provide dual infrastructure benefits in cities. With growing urban populations and aging infrastructure, local governments and their city planners are taking a fresh look at parks as a wise investment of municipal resources to address our greatest urban challenges—from stormwater management and reducing public health costs to economic revitalization and job growth. Investing in parks and green infrastructure in cities improves resilience, drives private investment, and helps American cities remain competitive.

Watch the Video Series


We’ve compiled stories and strategies from 11 American cities who have leveraged city parks to create positive, lasting change in the social, economic, and physical well-being of their residents.