Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Invests Over $300,000 to Support Community-Driven Efforts to Connect People and Places by Trail

November 17, 2021
by Meg Daly

Friends of The Underline is awarded $1,000 to advance community engagement efforts.

Miami, FL.— Friends of The Underline is among the grantees included in today’s announcement by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), which shared that it has awarded a combined $308,500 in funding to 45 projects across 16 states. According to RTC, the grants are investments in community-led efforts to create more opportunities for people to connect with trails in their neighborhoods—either through activities and events or through improved, connected trail infrastructure. 

Friends of The Underline (FUL) has developed a strategic plan that will help define what a “world-class” park would look like for Miami-Dade. Being more than a space; The Underline is a place built for future generations where community, resiliency and joy intersect. It will improve connectivity across different neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County, celebrate the diverse local community, and provide free educational programming. 

“We are honored to receive this generous donation that will help us better connect with Miamians of all ages, ethnicity and races,” said Meg Daly, Founder of Friends of The Underline. “We truly appreciate Rails-to-Trails support in extending our reach.”   

RTC’s Trail Grant Program emphasizes strategic investments that support significant regional and community trail development goals—often providing funding for projects that are small in scope and scale and can be hard to finance within traditional funding streams. These projects are essential to building, maintaining and managing the trails that communities rely upon for recreation, transportation and economic vitality.

“At RTC, we believe that trails have the power to transform communities and create joyful, vibrant public spaces that are equitable and inclusive,” said Liz Thorstensen, RTC’s vice president of trail development. “These grants are intentional investments in the partners and people who are working on the ground—in their neighborhoods and in their states—to establish the programming and the infrastructure necessary to invite everyone living in a community to enjoy their trails. Our partners are leading the way to a future where trails connect everyone, everywhere.” 

This round of RTC trail grants prioritized investment in RTC’s flagship initiatives, including RTC’s TrailNation™ initiative, which is designed to establish model trail networks across the country to prove what is possible when you equitably connect people and places by trail. Grants also fund those working to connect the Great American Rail-Trail™, the nation’s first entirely bikeable cross-country trail, which will one day link Washington, D.C., and Washington State. The Underline is part of the East Coast Greenway which connects 15 states and 450 cities and towns for 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. 

Since 2008, RTC has distributed $2,373,320 in trail development grants. For a listing of all grant recipients, visit railstotrails.org/grants. To learn more about TrailNation, visit railstotrails.org/trailnation. To learn more about the Great American Rail-Trail, visit railstotrails.org/greatamericanrailtrail. 

To learn more about The Underline please visit www.theunderline.org. 

About The Underline

The Underline is a planned 10-mile urban trail, linear neighborhood park and public art destination that will span from the Miami River, north of Brickell Metrorail station, to Dadeland South. The Underline project will feature dedicated bike and pedestrian paths, amenities, art, programming, lighting, native vegetation as well as safety features and improvements at road crossings. The Underline will be built in three phases.  The first phase, Brickell Backyard from the Miami River to Coral Way, opened February 2021.  For more information, visit www.theunderline.org and/or follow on social media @theunderlinemia.

About Rails-to-Conservancy

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Connect with RTC at railstotrails.org and @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.