As more young families move to the East Valley, new homes aren’t the only hot properties. Playing fields and lighting have become critical to growing communities where youth sports are a priority.
To help fill some of that need, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority is offering $2.2 million in grants to municipalities, county agencies, school districts and nonprofit organizations. The funding is designated for facilities or physical activity programs related to youth and amateur sports.
The amount this year offered is the largest since the authority’s Biennial Youth and Amateur Sports Grant Program began in 2001, said Kerri White, the authority’s youth sports grant coordinator.
In Gilbert, a population explosion has made fields and lighting especially scarce. The town applied for grant funding from the authority during the last funding cycle, Parks Superintendent Kenny Martin said.
Gilbert had hoped to fund lighting at two fields at McQueen Park. That request wasn’t granted, and Martin said the town is evaluating whether to apply for funding again to light the fields or to apply for a grant for a different project.
Organizations interested in applying for funding can attend one of the authority’s free grant assistance workshops this month.
White said the program is restricted to funding only two-thirds of the total cost of any project.
"The successful projects are the ones that already have some funding or partners," she said.
Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority workshops in the East Valley for groups seeking grants to fund facilities or physical activity programs related to youth and amateur sports:
• Thursday: 4 to 5 p.m. at the Pyle Adult Recreation Center’s Globe Room, 655 E. Southern Ave., Tempe.
• Monday: 4 to 5 p.m. at the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority offices, 14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Suite 312, Scottsdale.
• Tuesday: 4 to 5 p.m. at the Chandler Public Library’s Basha Branch, 5990 S. Val Vista Drive, Chandler.