$2 million in grant funding will help kids in the Cole neighborhood connect with the great outdoors

My Outdoor Colorado will focus on the Cole neighborhood for its latest round of improvements including program funding and park redevelopment.

John Abeyta crosses the sidewalk at Russell Square Park in Denver's Cole neighborhood, Aug. 9, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

John Abeyta crosses the sidewalk at Russell Square Park in Denver's Cole neighborhood, Aug. 9, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Allan Tellis. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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My Outdoor Colorado has received a $2 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to boost its efforts to help young people who live in the Cole neighborhood’s urban environment to connect with the great outdoors. A portion of the grant funds will be used by MOC to fund activities that help kids learn skills related to the outdoors as well as potentially encouraging pathways to careers that are nature-focused.

“The funds are there to provide both programs and encourage pathways, which is working predominantly with teens and young adults to introduce them to careers and the outdoors,” said Jane Broida, a program administrator for Denver Parks and Recreation.

Great Outdoors Colorado invests Colorado Lottery proceeds in Colorado’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces.

A significant portion of the money will also be used to improve existing facilities. This includes improvements at Russell Square Park and upgrades to other outdoor facilities focused on youths and their families, which Broida said will help get kids, especially those in more urban environments, outside and exploring potential new passions.

“Research definitely shows that being involved in outdoor experiences can be a critical element in self-esteem self-worth viable recreational pursuits that are really valuable to using leisure time in the right way,” said Broida.

Before construction can start, there will be a design process with community engagement and approval from the Denver City Council, she said.