COLUMBUS — State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) announced the release of approximately $3.3 million for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) NatureWorks Program. This program provides funding for local park projects across the state.

"The dollars awarded locally by the NatureWorks program are an investment in our communities and the people of Ohio. Better recreational facilities help encourage the public to spend time outdoors with their families," said Rep. Cera.

According to Rep. Cera, Mingo Junction will receive $26,869 for asphalt resurfacing and bleacher replacement at Aracoma Park. In Monroe County, the Woodsfield City Park will receive $61,841 for improvements that include a covered pavilion with restrooms, and inclusive merry-go-round, a double sliding-board, three fire grills, and the resurfacing of a basketball court. The Monroe County Park District will receive $15,440 for improvements at the Ohio Township Swimming Pool.

Rep. Cera, a member of the State Controlling Board that approved the release of the funds, added that the NatureWorks program is an important tool that was set up in 1993 using funds through the Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Bond Issue. Local subdivisions of government are eligible to apply for the funding, which must be used for the acquisition, development, and rehab of recreational areas.

This year, 68 of Ohio’s 88 counties submitted 162 applications. After careful review of all applications, 85 projects were selected for the grant.