WASHINGTON — City parks received a huge funding increase in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 passed by Congress on Monday. The bill includes $125 million for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP), which is a $100 million increase over last year’s funding level. This historic investment in local parks is the highest in decades and the largest investment in the ORLP program’s history.
The coronavirus has shined a light on numerous equity issues in our cities, including disparities in access to and quality of parks depending on a person’s zip code. Funding ORLP at this level will help cities provide parks and greenspaces for the communities that are most vulnerable to climate change impacts and lack quality parks. Congress’s commitment to ensuring access to local parks and quality outdoor spaces is an important investment at a time when the country faces a global pandemic and ongoing racial inequities. Parks and outdoor recreation opportunities help ensure that all people can experience the physical, mental, and social benefits of nature.
“Investing in parks and greenspace will help cities recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus. Parks are essential to the social, economic, and environmental health of cities and the increase in funding for ORLP will help bring these benefits to underserved communities,” said Julie Waterman, Advocacy Director for City Parks Alliance. “This funding will leverage additional funds from public and private sources, and will help provide healthy and vibrant parks for all.”