Parks Grants & Funding

Funding the regional parks system

The Council allocates state and regional funds for ongoing acquisition, development and non-capital projects such as environmental education for the parks system. Between 1974 and 2014, the Council authorized a total of $626.9 million in grant funds for those purposes.

Funding for the grants comes from state bonds, regional bonds issued by the Council, monies from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund or ENRTF (as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources), Land and Legacy Fund monies, and interest earnings.  

See Celebrating 6 Years of Legacy Parks and Trails Success (pdf).

Equity grant program pilot

The Met Council has designated a portion of its regional parks bonds to provide financial support to regional parks implementing agencies for capital projects that will strengthen equitable usage of regional parks and trails by all our region's residents, such as across age, race, ethnicity, income, national origin, and ability.

A nine-member Review Committee composed of individuals from the Metropolitan Parks and Open Space Commission, Community Development Committee, Equity Advisory Committee, and others will meet to learn about, score, discuss, and make recommendations about submitted project proposals.

First meeting: Thursday, October 17, 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Metropolitan Council Conference Room 1B
390 Robert Street North, Saint Paul | Map and directions

Second meeting: Thursday, October 24, 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Metropolitan Council Conference Room 1B
390 Robert Street North, Saint Paul | Map and directions

2019 Fund Distribution Plan (PDF)

Legacy website.Minnesota’s Legacy

Through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, the Council has awarded over 200 grants to the 10 Regional Parks Implementing Agencies for regional park and trail projects. More about the Legacy Amendment.

Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

Enviroment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.The Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the residents of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife and other natural resources. Currently, 40% of net Minnesota State Lottery proceeds are dedicated to growing the Trust Fund and ensuring future benefits for Minnesota’s environment and natural resources. More about the Trust Fund.

Park Acquisition Opportunity Fund grants

Park Acquisition Opportunity Fund (PAOF) grants are intended to help regional park agencies acquire land within Metropolitan Council-approved regional park and trail master plan boundaries.  These grants finance up to 75% of acquisition costs within a limit per park agency and require matching funds to finance 25% of the costs.

Operation and maintenance funds

The Council also allocates state funds to regional park implementing agencies — metro area cities, counties and special park districts — cover a share of the cost of parks operation and maintenance every year. In 2016, the Council distributed almost $9 million to the 10 park implementing agencies for parks operations and maintenance, which covered about 9% of their costs.

The Council provides the Minnesota state legislature with an annual report detailing how funds have been used to support the regional parks system.

2014 Metropolitan Regional Parks Capital Improvement Projects Funded from 2014 State and Metropolitan Council Bonds (5 pages, pdf)