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New Federal Legislation: Funding Parks for Livable Communities

New legislation has been proposed by Rep. Sires of New Jersey that would include funding for parks to foster livable communities. The National Recreation and Park Association has sent out information and a call for action to pass this legislation. Here it is:

The Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, HR 3734, introduced by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) and 22 co-sponsors, would authorize $445 million to be appropriated annually for FY 2011–FY 2021. Funding would be provided through matching federal assistance grants and could be used by parks and recreation agencies to rehabilitate existing, and develop new, urban parks and community recreational infrastructure as well as for the continued investment in programs that improve public health, increase daily physical activity, reconnect children with nature, reduce crime, provide safe healthy alternatives for at-risk youth, encourage environmental stewardship, and foster local economic development.

Action Needed:
Please call your Member of Congress NOW and encourage them to sign on to the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act (H.R. 3734). To find your Member of Congress click here. To see a current list of co-sponsors and view the text of the bill click here and search for bill number HR 3734.

What’s at Stake?
There has been no dedicated federal funding to support urban parks for over eight years when the last round of grants under the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Act were awarded in 2001. Since that time the need to rehabilitate deteriorating urban park infrastructure has grown exponentially. The Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act will once again provide the dedicated funding that our urban parks need and deserve in order to provide close-to-home, safe places for children to play in parks and recreation areas and improve the health and overall quality of life for people of all ages across our nation’s urban areas.

Talking Points:
Nearly 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, many of which are suffering from deteriorating community infrastructure, limited green spaces, poor health and chronic disease as well as juvenile delinquency.

Urban parks and recreation facilities play key roles in improving the health of our nation’s cities and urban communities by providing convenient access to the places, spaces and opportunities that lead to increased physical activity.

Urban parks and green spaces contribute to reduced storm water runoff, enhanced groundwater recharge, storm water pollutant reductions, reduction of urban heat island effects, and reduced energy demands.

The National Youth Violence Prevention Center reports that students who spend no time in extracurricular activities, such as those offered in after-school recreation programs are more likely use drugs and to become teen parents than are those students who spend one to four hours per week in extracurricular activities. Park and recreation agencies are the largest public provider of after school programs.

3 Responses

  1. […] investment in community programs, such as those aiding at-risk youth.” (The legislation was announced only earlier this month and now has 74 […]

  2. Nikki Tsongas, my congressperson from MA just had a staffperson call to tell me that she signed on as a co-sponser last week. Writing emails to congress really works!

  3. Hi My name is Ed and I’m a Portland Parks & Recreation volunteer. I wonder if some of this Federal funding for city parks could be used to hire part-time interns?

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