Land Connections  

This mailer has been provided as an avenue to disperse information pertinent to public agencies and the landscape architecture profession in hopes of fostering greater understanding and collaboration. Topics address issues that affect the built environment within which we live.


California Housing Related Parks Program

"Recreation opportunities and parks are essential for strengthening and maintaining a healthy community." California State Parks

This month's issue is dedicated to the California Department of Housing and Community Development's Housing Related Parks Program. This program is funded through Proposition 1C with the primary goal of providing incentives for local governments to build affordable housing, by offering funds to build recreational facilities within low income communities. The following descriptions present the general anatomy and background of the program including funding availability, use of funds, eligibility criteria, and fund distribution.

Funding Availability -
This program has total available funding of $200 million to be distributed during six funding cycles. The first cycle begins in 2010, but is based on efforts made during the 2009 calendar year. There is also a minimum grant amount set at $75,000 (including bonus awards). Any grant money received through this program must be spent within three years of an official agreement.

Applications will be accepted following an official Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for each funding cycle. The first cycle is anticipated to begin in 2010.

Use of Funds -
These funds must be used for purposes of creating, or rehabilitating recreational opportunities and facilities (including organized, active and passive recreational facilities, recreation based multi-purpose structures, swim centers, supporting infrastructure, and many other recreational uses). The acquisition of land or capital assets, construction, major maintenance, and equipment purchases are acceptable uses of the funds. Administrative costs associated with employees of the grantee or grant administration are not acceptable uses of these funds.

Eligibility Criteria -
This program is reserved for cities, counties or a sub-contracted recreation & park district or non-profit organization. These organizations will be eligible to receive funding if they have adopted legal housing elements and have submitted annual progress reports to the Department of Housing and Community Development. Eligible housing starts for the program year (year before grant funds are issued) must also
be documented with foundation inspections prior to the December 31st deadline.

Eligible housing units for rent will be required to meet the following criteria:

  • Must include affordable rent for extremely low, very low, and low-income households.
  • Must enter into a 55 year minimum affordability covenant or agreement.

Eligible housing units for ownership will be required to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be initially reserved for sale to low or very low-income households.
  • Must have a minimum 20 year restriction on resale or recapture for projects with public funds.

Fund Distribution -
Grants will be determined and awarded by the number of bedrooms in newly constructed units for low to very-low income households. Each bedroom unit in a low-income household will earn $500, and each bedroom unit in a very low-income household will earn $750. These numbers are the base upon which other "bonus" awards may be made. Bonus awards are reserved for projects that are constructed for extremely low income areas, projects that are considered infill projects, projects serving disadvantaged communities, associated park projects located in park-deficient communities, infill projects that support facility or regional blueprint conformance, and projects that meet a target percentage for regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) as determined by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

The table below shows the actual dollar amounts associated with each possible bonus award that a project may be eligible for.


If you would like to know more about this program, its requirements, your eligibility, and what needs to be done before year's end, there are draft program guidelines available online. Click Here.

O'Dell Engineering

The next time you need a Landscape Architect on your project, consider O'Dell Engineering's Landscape Architecture Department.

Services include:

  • Park and Playground Design
  • Recreational Facility Design
  • Site Planning
  • Streetscape Design
  • Urban Design
  • Commercial Design
  • 3-D Visualizations
  • Graphic Design
  • Arborist Consulting


Image 1

image 2


  • Trees & the Urban Environment Part I
  • Trees & the Urban Environment Part II
  • Trees & the Urban Environment Part III
  • California Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance
Author: Chad Kennedy, Landscape Architect

This informational article provided by O'Dell Engineering - 1165 Scenic Drive, Suite A, Modesto CA 95350