DOOR COUNTY (NBC 26) — The five state parks in Door County are eligible for a $50,000 grant, as a means to improve or enhance the park experience for visitors. There's even an opportunity to triple the grant.
“We've had a project list at our board meetings every month, for years now of projects we'd like to get done," said John Swanson the president of the Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park.
Swanson says this money will get some of the projects started, like upgrading the area around the Old Baldy Sand Dune.
"They're deteriorating. They need to be replaced. They're on the DNR project list, but they're pushed way back in priorities. So we'd like to fund that project," said Swanson when talking about one of the projects they plan to use the grant money towards.
The grant money is coming from room tax dollars from 2022. The money generated by visitors to Door County totaled around 11 million dollars.
Destination Door County has already committed the first $50,000 and is working with the Door County Community Foundation to get this money to the non-profit, "friends groups," at the five state parks.
Each park is challenged to raise an additional $50,000 through donations and outside grants, and once they do, Destination Door County and the Door County community foundation will be awarding another $50,000 to them, totaling $150,000.
Superintendent Erin Brown Stender of the Potawatami and Whitefish Dunes State Parks says this opportunity is huge for these parks.
"Projects that we think may be really important at a specific park may take a little bit longer to get funding on the statewide level, just because we're competing against all of the state parks across the state for the funds that are available. This allows the Friends group to come in with money in hand, so to speak, and maybe expedite facilitating some of those projects," said Brown Stender.