Trenton – In an effort to encourage the development of community sports and STEM programs for children, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton to appropriate $10 million to establish a grant program in the Division of Housing and Community Resources.
“With spikes in childhood anxiety and depression, it is important to provide ample opportunities for youth recreational activities,” said Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Chair of the Committee. “In addition to providing healthy forms of exercise, sports programs foster friendships and instill values of competition and camaraderie. Also, exposure to early STEM education introduces children to this in-demand field and will help foster interest in this area.”
The bill, S-3445, would require the Director of the DHCR to establish a competitive matching grant program appropriating $10 million from the General Fund to the DHCR to encourage municipalities to develop and maintain recreational sports and athletics programs, as well as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs for local children.
In order to participate in the grant program established by the bill, municipalities would have to submit an application to the DHCR in a process determined by the Director. The application would be required to include information detailing the municipality’s proposed plans for the grant funding.
“Through matching grants and without burdensome fees, local governments would be in a better position to create and administer these programs, making them financially accessible for any children who wish to participate, continued Singleton.
Under the bill, the Director would be required to select municipalities in each of the northern, southern, and central regions of the State to participate in the program. The Director would also be required to seek a cross section of programs from urban, suburban, and rural areas of the State.
The bill was released by a vote of 5-0.