The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded the first round of implementation funding for six Inspire Initiative pilot communities, totaling $13.5 million in grants.
GOCO’s Inspire Initiative will invest in places, programs, and pathways to get kids outside in communities across the state. This innovative framework is being looked at as a national model, and each coalition’s approach to the unique challenges of their community will serve as examples to other rural, urban, suburban, or mountain communities across the country.
The six pilot coalitions were selected by GOCO in 2015 for a planning grant, spending the last year defining barriers and creating a vision for meaningful, sustainable change in connecting youth with the outdoors.
Youth have led the charge in each of these communities; this funding will put their plans into action over the next three years to build capacity for the long term. The coalition model of Inspire has also brought together organizations in a new way, with collaboration across outdoor recreation, education, and public health organizations.
In total, Inspire will impact nearly 42,000 youth and create more than 520 jobs in the service areas of the six pilots: Northeast Metro Denver (Commerce City, northeast Aurora, and Denver’s Northeast Park Hill and Montbello neighborhoods); Denver’s Westwood neighborhood; Lafayette; Leadville; Lamar; and the San Luis Valley.
GOCO’s $13.5 million in funding will leverage $9.7 million in local matching dollars.
Inspire Lamar, $1.3 million grant to the City of Lamar
Lamar will invest in transforming North Gateway Park and Willow Creek Park, both of which are easily accessible from the Lamar Loop trail. Eighteen programs and associated pathway opportunities will bring new experiences to youth like fishing, camping, and biking, and will give them the gear to do it with an affordable outdoor gear library.
The coalition will partner with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to run a “Train the Trainer” program, which will bring in experts from both organizations to train local residents in delivering high-quality outdoor education programming.
About the Author: