Urban parks advocates from across the country traveled to Washington, DC, on Tuesday, April 20th to lobby members of congress in support of city parks. Forty park professionals participated in City Parks Alliance Day on the Hill, which consisted of a legislative overview, training session, and congressional office visits. Participants then attended the the Congressional Urban Parks Briefing, hosted by Rep. Chaka Fattah, (D, PA-2 ), Albio Sires (D, NJ-13), Michael Turner (R, OH-3) and John Lewis (D, GA-5).
The participants visited 56 congressmen and asked for their support for three current city park initiatives:
- The Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act (H.R. 3734), which would provide urban areas with matching grants to improve urban parks and recreational opportunities.
- The Green Communities Act (H.R. 2222/S. 3055), which would provide funding to municipalities trying to plan and implement green infrastructure projects, such as parks and street trees. The program encourages public-private partnerships to leverage public funding.
- Full support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, our nation’s premier federal program to fund land acquisition and protection of federal lands and state and local parks.
Participants reported positive feedback from the day. The hard work and planning of Catherine Nagel and Angie Horn at City Parks Alliance, made the event a success.
There’s a lot going on right now on the federal level that touches on urban parks in addition to the bills mentioned above. The White House hosted a conference on the great outdoors in which many participants stressed the importance of city parks and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative is emphasizing the need to get kids more physically active and providing better facilities for this. Having CPA members in Washington to keep pressing the importance of city parks will help push this even more.