Coalition Letter Urging Funding for Local Parks in COVID Stimulus Package

Coalition Letter Urging Funding for Local Parks in COVID Stimulus Package

The Honorable Mitch McConnell Majority Leader,
United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles Schumer Minority Leader,
United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker,
United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader,
United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, representing local leaders, parks and conservation groups, and millions of supporters across the country, we write to urge you to include a one-time, historic investment for our local parks in any future economic stimulus or infrastructure package as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Parks and greenspace have always played an essential role in our communities, providing economic value, emotional and physical health benefits, and bringing people together. During the coronavirus pandemic, nature has taken on a whole new meaning for many of us, becoming the one place we go for exercise, fresh air, and respite from anxiety, and grief. But not everyone has equal access to the outdoors: in some communities parks may be too few and far between or too dangerous and rundown, and open space restricted by locked gates and “No Trespassing” signs. This crisis is demonstrating yet again that in too many communities, parks and accessible open space are still considered a privilege when they should be a right.

A historic, one-time investment in local parks would stimulate job creation and economic activity, expand park access for the one-in-three Americans who do not have a close-to-home park and provide the health and social benefits to underserved communities feeling the impacts of this crisis most acutely.

Parks are drivers of local economies: in 2017 alone, local parks and recreation agencies generated $166 billion in economic activity and supported more than 1.1 million jobs nationwide.

A 2018 report showed that parks and recreation spending on operations creates 23 jobs for every million dollars spent and 16 jobs for every million dollars spent on capital improvements.

Congress can act swiftly to address this urgent need for jobs and parks by investing in the Outdoor programs that prioritize shovel-ready park development and acquisition projects that expand outdoor recreation opportunities in urban communities lacking sufficient close-to-home parks, engage public-private partnerships, and create jobs and help stimulate local economic development. This historic, one- time investment would complement the Great American Outdoors Act we support to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Congress has consistently supported locally-driven parks and recreation programs through the annual appropriations process. Over the short existence of ORLP, projects in forty-eight towns and cities in 29 different states have expanded close-to-home outdoor recreation access. Projects include improving accessibility of playgrounds, creating parks on former brownfield sites and industrial lands, and developing dual-use spaces for recreation and green infrastructure stormwater management that builds resilient communities.

We thank you for bipartisan Congressional leadership in passing the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and most recently the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. These measures are providing critical funding to meet the immediate needs of communities bearing the brunt of this pandemic. As Congress prepares a package that will stimulate the economy, create jobs, and provide communities with the support they need we appreciate your inclusion of increased funding for local parks.

Sincerely,

National Supporters

America Walks
American Hiking Society
American Planning Association
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society of Landscape Architects American Trails
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
City Parks Alliance
City Parks Foundation
Clean Water Action
Collaboration of Regional Trail Initiatives
Green Schoolyards America
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
GreenLatinos
Hispanic Access Foundation
Latino Outdoors
League of Conservation Voters
National League of Cities
National Parks Conservation Association
National Recreation and Park Association National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Outdoor Afro
Outdoor Alliance
Outdoor Industry Association
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
REI Co-op
Sierra Club
The Trust for Public Land
The Wilderness Society
US Conference of Mayors
Vet Voice Foundation Wilderness Inquiry
Winter Wildlands Alliance
World Urban Parks

Regional and Local Supporters

Active San Gabriel Valley
Akron Parks Collaborative
Alliance for Infrastructure Reuse and
Redevelopment (AIRR)
Anchorage Park Foundation
Appalachian Mountain Club
Auburn Area Recreation & Park District
Austin Parks Foundation
Avonworth Community Park
Big City Mountaineers
Brightline Defense
Broadway Mall Association
Bronx River Alliance
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy
Butler County, PA
California Geographic Alliance
California Invasive Plant Council
California Mountain Biking Coalition
California Outdoor Recreation Partnership
California Park & Recreation Society
City of Gilroy Parks & Recreation Commission
Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists
Association Conservation Lands Foundation
Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions
David Brower Center
East Coast Greenway Alliance
Fairmount Park Conservancy
Friends of Governors Island
Friends of Mill Ridge Park
Friends of Sloan Canyon
Get Outdoors Nevada
GirlVentures
Groundwork Richmond
Hudson River Park Friends
Hunters Point Parks Conservancy
Kokatat, Inc.
Landforce
Lantern Camps
Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust
Los Angeles Parks Foundation
Los Angeles River State Park Partners
Los Padres ForestWatch
Louisville Parks Foundation
Madison Square Park Conservancy
Memphis River Parks Partnership
Minneapolis Parks Foundation
Nashville Parks Foundation
Natural Areas Conservancy
New York Restoration Project (NYRP)
New Yorkers for Parks
Outdoor Outreach
Parks and People Foundation, Inc.
Pashek+MTR
Pathfinder Ranch
Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society
Philadelphia Parks Alliance
Portland Parks Conservancy
Portland Parks Foundation
Prospect Park Alliance
Redwood Empire Mountain Bike Alliance
Richland Township, PA Parks and Recreation Department
Riverside Park Conservancy
Roberts & Associates
San Diego Mountain Biking Association
San Jose Parks Foundation
Seattle Parks Foundation
Seed Your Future
Seirus Innovative Accessories Inc.
Southern Nevada Conservancy
Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District Ten Strands
The Praxis Project
The Venture Out Project
UC Irvine Outdoor Adventures
Van Cortlandt Park Alliance
Youth Transportation Organization

Cc:
Sen. Shelby, Chair of Committee on Appropriations
Sen. Leahy, Ranking Member of Committee on Appropriations
Rep. Lowey, Chairwoman of Committee on Appropriations
Rep. Granger, Ranking Member of Committee on Appropriations
Sen. Murkowski, Chair of Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and
Related Agencies & Chairman of Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Sen. Udall, Ranking Member of Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Rep. McCollum, Chair of Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies
Rep. Joyce, Ranking Member of Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Sen. Manchin, Ranking Member of Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Rep. Grijalva, Chair of Natural Resources Committee
Rep. Bishop, Ranking Member of Natural Resources Committee

 

 

1 The Trust for Public Lands, “Parks on the clock: why we believe in the 10 minute-walk” https://www.tpl.org/blog/why-the-10-minute-walk, 2016.
2 George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis and NRPA, “The Economic Impact of Parks” https://www.nrpa.org/siteassets/research/economic-impact-study-summary-2020.pdf, 2020.
3 George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis and NRPA, “The Economic Impact of Local Parks” https://www.nrpa.org/siteassets/research/economic-impact-study-full-report-2018.pdf, 2018.

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