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Bipartisan Community Parks Revitalization Act Introduced in U.S. House

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) commends Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), and nine others for introducing H.R. 2424, the Community Parks Revitalization Act, 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 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. In addition 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, 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.

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 important, promoting healthier, happier lifestyles.

For more information on ASLA federal advocacy efforts, please visit ASLA’s I Advocate webpage.

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