WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) and Mike Turner (OH-10) today introduced the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Grant Program Act, a bipartisan bill to create a dedicated source of funding for projects that expand outdoor recreational opportunities in cities across the country, particularly in underserved areas.
“I am introducing this bill to improve the quality of life for my constituents. I am excited to help create more opportunities for safe outdoor recreation places for children and families in the neighborhoods of America’s cities,” said Rep. Barragán. “It is my hope that this designated federal funding will help set aside local green spaces, build neighborhood baseball fields and allow for park projects along our waterfronts.”
At a time when cities across the country are attracting new residents at rates not seen since the early 20th century, investing in new and revitalized urban parks can return measurable health, economic, and community benefits. These parks, playgrounds, green spaces, preserved natural habitats, and trails provide much-needed outdoor outlets for city residents, bringing communities together across different social and economic spectrums.
Rep. Turner stated, “As a former mayor, I understand the crucial role urban parks, outdoor recreation areas, and green spaces play in making a city a better place to live and work. These preserved spaces provide a host of benefits to residents and visitors alike, serving as natural oases where people can participate in outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and bicycling. Our legislation will ensure that people in metropolitan areas from Ohio to California and beyond have improved access to parks and recreation close to where they live.”
The National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership initiative—which the bill would codify—invests in parks and open spaces in areas where 80% of Americans live, bringing improved outdoor recreational opportunities to urban residents who can benefit from the healthy activities and better quality of life these parks afford. By guaranteeing a source of funding for the ORLP, our bill ensures that this competitive grant program will continue to identify and highlight new ways of providing opportunities for expanding outdoor recreation in areas with great need, as well as promoting the development of new or enhanced partnerships for outdoor recreation in urban communities across the nation.
Eligible applicants for ORLP grants must be state or local government agencies or federally-recognized Indian tribes. Individuals, nonprofit organizations, and other private entities are not eligible as applicants or sub-awardees. However, projects that involve partnerships with such entities are favored. Additionally, in order to earn a grant, applicants must leverage matching non-federal funds from state, local, and/or private sources.
The Urban and Community Park Coalition, comprising the American Planning Association, the City Parks Alliance, the National Recreation and Park Association, and The Trust for Public Land said, “We thank Representatives Barragán and Turner for introducing the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Grant Program Act. Parks provide enormous health, economic, and social equity benefits, and with 80% of Americans now living in urban and metropolitan areas, investing in city parks must be a priority. Not only does this bill provide a guaranteed source of funding for urban parks, but it also helps ensure all people have access to quality, outdoor recreation opportunities that build healthier and stronger communities.”
The bill has been endorsed by many outside organizations, including the American Planning Association, City Parks Alliance, LWCF Coalition, National Recreation and Park Association, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, and The Wilderness Society.