These are questions that are often asked about the grant round process and ongoing obligations after the grant award has been made.
Q. Who can apply?
A. That depends on the type of project.
For LAND grants,
- Municipal conservation commissions and community preservation commissions
For PARC grants,
- Municipal agencies, such as the Planning Department, Parks Department, etc.
For LWCF grants,
- Municipalities and the Departments of Fish and Game and Conservation and Recreation
For Conservation Partnership grants,
- Non-public, not-for-profit corporations
For Landscape Partnership grants,
- A minimum of two of the following: state agencies, municipalities, and/or land trusts
Q. Does a community applying for a grant need to meet eligibility requirements?
A. Yes - each applicant must have a current open space and recreation plan on file with DCS. Review the information regarding the current status of your community's open space and recreation plan ( see Open Space and Recreation Plan Status. In addition, any community that has an unresolved "parkland" conversion issue with EEA is ineligible to apply.
Q. How much money is available under each program?
A. The total amount awarded under each program varies year to year, as does the maximum grant award offered to each community. The maximum grant award for LAND and PARC grants in FY2016 was $400,000. The maximum grant award for Conservation Partnership was $85,000 in FY2016. For the FY2016 LWCF grant round, the maximum was $250,000.
Q. We've already purchased our land, can we still be reimbursed?
A. No, so be sure not to purchase the property until you have a signed contract from DCS.
Q. We've already started our park development project, can we be reimbursed?
A. No, so be sure not to start your project until you have a signed contract from DCS.
Q. Our project involves the donation of land. May we use that as part of the municipal "share" of the total project cost?
A. Unfortunately, we cannot count the land value towards the project's eligible costs for the PARC, LAND or Conservation Partnership grant programs. The regulations for both the PARC and LAND programs state that we reimburse the acquisition cost based on approved appraised value or actual purchase price, whichever is less.
Q. Will you fund a playground on school property?
A. No, facilities on school department land are not eligible projects. This is because that land is not legally dedicated to park use. Therefore the playground could easily be eliminated by a school expansion project, and the grant investment would be lost.
Q. If DCS funds our project, does the state then own the property?
A. No - the city or town owns the conservation area or parkland parkland in the case of LAND, PARC, or LWCF grants and the non-profit organization owns the land in the case of Conservation Partnership grants. However, the land is legally protected open space.
Q. What is legally protected open space?
A. Land owned by private, public and nonprofit owners may be permanently protected open space ( Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) ), provided that they have been dedicated to such uses as conservation or recreational use by deed. Municipal properties may also be protected via the Town Meeting Vote or City Council Order to acquire them. Article 97 refers to Article 97 of the Articles of Amendment to the State Constitution.
Q. How does my community apply for PARC and LAND grants?
A. Visit the PARC or LAND grant portion of our website to obtain the necessary application forms and documents, and information on our free "How to Apply" workshop.
Q. May property be acquired using the authority of an eminent domain taking?
A. Yes - it's possible to acquire land this way through the grant programs. If it is done, it is often done as a "friendly taking" to clear title. That's why it's important to research title now, rather than discover next spring that clear title is not possible and the project sadly fails.
If you don't see your question answered, please contact us!
Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Grant Program
Landscape Partnership Grant Program
Drinking Water Supply Protection Grant Program
Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Grant Program
Conservation Partnership Grant Program
Land Water Conservation Fund Grant Program
This information is provided by the Division of Conservation Services