Last week, Congressman Albio Sires (NJ) introduced legislation to create more parks and recreation space in our nation’s urban centers. H.R. 3734, the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act would provide federal grants to states, local governments and community-based non-profit organizations to construct new parks and recreational facilities or rehabilitate existing ones in urban communities. Grant recipients must provide a thirty percent local match and submit a five-year action plan.
The intent of the legislation is to provide more open space and other recreational opportunities to urban areas which will assist with improving the health and well-being of their residents and promote economic development of the areas. Notably, the legislation encourages the selection of projects that utilize sustainable landscape features, increase the urban forestry canopy, improve stormwater management, and provide overall environmental benefits to urban areas.
Congressman Sires is the former mayor of West New York, New Jersey and states that “he has seen firsthand how parks and recreational facilities benefit our communities. These kinds of investments help our cities flourish, provide positive activities for our youth, and give our kids and families healthy and safe places to be outside.”
Currently, the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act has 24 co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services for further action.