Greenspace Equity Program

The Greenspace Equity Program was established in 2023 through legislation (Chapter 487 of 2023) to provide grants to eligible applicants for enhancing the public health and livability of overburdened and underserved communities by implementing projects to preserve, create, and improve public greenspace in overburdened and underserved communities. Funding for the program is authorized to come from the state share of Program Open Space starting in FY 2025 (July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2025) but is subject to future budget actions.

Program Information

  • “Overburdened community” means any census tract for which three or more of specified environmental health indicators are above the seventy-fifth percentile statewide. “Underserved community” means any census tract in which, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau Survey (1) at least 25% of the residents qualify as low-income; (2) at least 50% of the residents identify as nonwhite; or (3) at least 15% of the residents have limited English proficiency. These are defined in statute (Environment Article §1-701).
  • The program will provide grants to eligible applicants for community greenspace projects located (1) in an overburdened community; (2) in an underserved community; or (3) on a property owned by an eligible applicant, or for which the applicant holds a conservation easement, located in a census tract adjacent to an overburdened community or an underserved community.
    • Eligible applicants are (1) specified land trusts or nongovernmental organizations located or working in an overburdened community or an underserved community where a project is proposed to be implemented or (2) a county or municipality. Grants for land acquisition may only be awarded to land trusts, counties, and municipalities.
    • Eligible projects - acquisition or capital development projects. Property acquired with a grant through the program must remain in public open space/recreation use in perpetuity. Development projects must be operated and maintained for public use for at least 15 years.

Greenspace Equity Viewer

View the Greenspace Equity Advisory Board