President Obama yesterday did two good things for city parks: he signed a law that more than doubles the size of Americorps and then visited a local Washington D.C. park to signify the act.
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act provides for gradually increasing the size of AmeriCorps to 250,000 enrollees from its current 75,000, and provides key objective areas such as improvement in poor areas and environmental improvement. Organizations that work with city parks, for such things as planting trees, community organizing, pulling invasive species, revitalizing facilities and recreational programming can hope to take advantage of the expanded program. (If your organization is interested in doing so, click here to visit the Americorps website.)
One such organization is the Student Conservation Association. The Obamas, along with the Bidens and former President Bill Clinton visited Washington’s Kenilworth Park along the Anacostia River to plant trees with Americorps members working with SCA.
This might be the President’s first semi-official visit to a city park – and a signal that he recognizes how they can be an important place for improving communities. City parks are a great place for giving back – they make for a better environment, they foster community cohesion and increase the livability of our neighborhoods.