For the past two decades, Kentucky has collected $2 fees from every new tire sale in the state and deposited them into the Waste Tire Trust Fund, which helps with the rubber-related grants and the management of the state’s annual five million waste tires. The state sends scrap tires to Kansas-based Champlin Tire Recycling, which melts the rubber down and transforms it into functional, often ADA-accessible products. “We’re using it in pour-in-place playgrounds, walking trails, park benches, picnic tables, landscaping,” Evans said. “It’s amazing to watch them put that down.”

The pour-in-place parks are very popular. This year, there were $1.5 million worth of grant applications. Last year, Daviess County received grants to build pour-in-place playgrounds at Sutton Elementary School and Seven Hills Audubon Head Start. The cabinet set up the crumb rubber grants in 2004. There used to be $1 million in grants handed out each year, but that has since been reduced to $500,000, according to Evans.

In Bowling Green, the Old Union School utilized the grant in 2007, and the Family Enrichment Center in Bowling Green transformed a playground with recycled rubber in 2010. Evans sees the grant as a great opportunity to better communities in a sustainable way, and a simple way to make parks more enjoyable. “It’s fun to walk on the pour-in-place playgrounds. I’ve been amazed with them,” Evans said.

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