There’s a lot of fanfare around grant awards, but what happens after the ceremonial checks are presented and the reporters have published their articles? Our partners get down to business.

For 25 years, GOCO has improved Colorado’s great outdoors with the help of Colorado Lottery proceeds. We’ve put more than $1 billion in proceeds back into 5,000 projects to improve the lives of Coloradans across the state.

After projects are awarded funding, grant recipients have about two years to make their projects happen. In August, eight projects closed, representing nearly $700,000 in GOCO investments in communities across the state. Scroll to see if one’s near you:

Baxter Gulch Trail & Crested Butte Open Space Stewardship Project

$33,200 GOCO grant to the Town of Crested Butte

This funding helped support the collaborative conservation efforts between the Town of Crested Butte and the Crested Butte Land Trust. An increase in tourism in recent years has resulted in additional need for stewardship work, especially on conserved lands. This GOCO grant allowed the town to hire Youth Corps crews for a four-week stewardship project, which included trail maintenance and weed management.

Learn more about how GOCO funds Youth Corps projects

Cozens Ranch Open Space Fraser River Corridor Master Plan

$65,000 GOCO grant to the Town of Fraser

With the help of GOCO funding, the Town of Fraser developed a master plan for the local river corridor, which partially sits within a 120-acre parcel of open space owned by the town. As part of the plan, they researched ways to incorporate active and passive recreation improvements, educational opportunities, and habitat enhancements for wildlife.

Learn more about GOCO planning grants

John Griffin Regional Park- Tamarisk and Russian Olive Abatement Project Phase II

$36,000 GOCO grant to Cañon City Area Metro Rec. and Park District

This GOCO grant helped the Cañon City Parks and Recreation District hire Youth Corps chainsaw and pesticide application crews to remove invasive species from a 14-acre area of John Griffin Regional Park. The Arkansas Riverwalk Trail, a popular tourist attraction, winds through the park, immersing visitors in the natural landscape. The presence of invasive species negatively impacts visitors’ experience and the habitat of local plants and wildlife.

Learn more about how GOCO funds Youth Corps projects

Memorial Park Bridge Project

$73,200 GOCO grant to the Town of Silverton

The Town of Silverton used GOCO funding to replace two pedestrian bridges in Memorial Park, a popular destination. The old bridges were deemed unsafe for public use, and so full access to the park was restricted prior to their replacement.

Learn more about GOCO funding for parks

Restoring Native Plant Communities in Jefferson County

$36,000 GOCO grant to Jefferson Conservation District

Youth Corps crews were also hired for noxious weed management work on 150 acres of conserved, private property in Jefferson County. The goal of this work was to increase resiliency to wildfires, improve habitat health, and increase the diversity of plants and wildlife.

See GOCO’s investments in Jefferson County

Site Plan- Overland Trail Recreation Area Expansion

$29,884 GOCO grant to the City of Sterling

This funding helped the City of Sterling develop a plan for a newly acquired, 125-acre property located adjacent to the South Platte River. As part of the plan, public outreach was done to assess the desires and needs of the community regarding walking, fishing, biking, camping, and nature observation.

Read more about the plan

Sunnyside Elementary School Campus Improvements

$44,164 GOCO grant to La Plata County

La Plata County, in partnership with Durango School District 9-R, used GOCO funds to replace the playground and enhance outdoor spaces at Sunnyside Elementary School. In addition to replacing the old playground, they also built an outdoor classroom and music garden. These updates will allow for increased recreation opportunities before, during, and after school hours.

Learn more about GOCO’s School Yard Initiative

Venezia Park Universally Accessible Playground

$350,000 GOCO grant to the City of Colorado Springs

With the help of GOCO funding, the City of Colorado Springs installed a universally accessible playground at Venezia Park. Universally accessible playgrounds allow children of all abilities to engage in unstructured play. This playground helps create new recreation opportunities for youth with disabilities and is only the second of its kind in a community of over 450,000 residents.

Learn more about accessible play in Colorado Springs