ASLA Applauds Reintroduction of Community Parks Revitalization Act


Washington, D.C., June 19, 2013—The American Society of Landscape Architects commends Congressman Albio Sires (NJ) for reintroducing today the Community Parks Revitalization Act (CPRA), which would help communities to rehabilitate existing and develop new community parks and outdoor recreational facilities.

Today, many communities are suffering from deteriorating infrastructure, chronic stormwater management issues, lagging economies, limited green spaces, poor health and chronic disease. Community parks and other outdoor recreation facilities have a proven record for revitalizing communities by: increasing economic development; improving public health; increasing daily physical activity; reconnecting children with nature; reducing crime; and providing safe, healthy alternatives for youth.

The Community Parks Revitalization Act (CPRA) will stimulate neighborhood economic growth by leveraging limited public resources to generate community reinvestment. Specifically, the bill will authorize grants for park and recreation agencies, which must be matched with local funds. Grants could be used to rehabilitate existing and develop new community parks and recreational infrastructure.  Additionally the bill now includes an innovative financing mechanism that would establish a program for secured loans and loan guarantees for the development of parks and recreation infrastructure. Notably, this program, modeled after the popular Transportation Infrastructure Innovative Financing Act (TIFIA), would allow either large scale projects such as trail systems, or multiple communities to bundle multiple projects together allowing eligible entities to take advantage of low cost financing.

“Considering that more than 80 percent of the U.S. population now lives in urban areas, it is critical that our nation’s leaders recognize the importance of quality of life in the communities where most American live,” says Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association. “The CPR Act emphasizes the vital role local parks and recreation plays in shaping and improving the economic vitality, environmental and physical wellness of urban communities in the country.”  

According to Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA, the Community Parks Revitalization Act is a crucial opportunity to strengthen American communities.

“ASLA supports legislation that will assist with the rehabilitation and construction of urban parks and recreational facilities across the country,” said Somerville. “Parks provide significant economic, social, and environmental benefits to everyone in the community. Parks are not just pretty places, but critical to the fabric of our daily lives.”

Somerville also noted that landscape architects, many of whom are part of small businesses, plan and design community parks and other outdoor recreational spaces. They help encourage physical activity by making spaces more accessible, attractive and sustainable. Exposure to nature reduces stress and improves mood. These spaces also absorb stormwater runoff, saving cities millions of dollars and, more importantly, promoting healthier, happier lifestyles.

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