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NRPA urges votes to support park and recreation funding in stimulus package

URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO SAVE PARK AND RECREATION FUNDING IN THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT.

From National Recreation and Park Association

Vote “NO” to Senate Amendment 309 offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that would prevent money in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act from being used to rehabilitate or repair park infrastructure.

Vote “YES” to Senate Amendment 480 offered by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) that would provide $100 million in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Stateside Assistance Program and help to rehabilitate thousands of park and recreation infrastructure projects that are in despair.

Contact your Senator by phone via the Senate switchboard at 202.224.3121 (To find your Senator, go to www.senate.gov)

Background

Last night Senator Coburn (R-OK) offered an amendment on the floor of the Senate that would prevent any money that is provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act from being used for community parks. If Senator Coburn’s amendment passes money that is provided by the Recovery Act to programs such as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Transportation Enhancements, or CDC’s Healthy Communities could not be allocated for park projects. Votes on this amendment have been postponed until this morning when the Senate reconvenes at 10am. We are not certain when the Coburn amendment will be brought forward for a vote. Please don’t delay, call your Senators now and ask them to vote “No” to Senate Amendment 309.

Senator Bingaman plans to offer Amendment number 480 this morning which would provide $100 million in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Stateside Assistance Program (LWCF). While these funds could not be used for land acquisition, they could be used for repair and rehabilitation of parks, trails and recreation infrastructure. Senator Bingaman still needs support for this amendment. Please call your Senators now and ask them to vote “YES” to Senate Amendment 480.

Even if you have already called Congressional staff regarding these issues, reach out to them again and emphasize the impact these two amendments could have on communities throughout this country.

Talking Points

* State and local parks and recreational facilities are in disrepair in communities across America and have thousands of capital construction and capital maintenance projects that are “on-the-shelf” and ready to go.

*Investing in state and local park and recreation agencies is not wasteful spending as these agencies provide essential community services.

*Local park and recreation agencies are the largest public provider of after school programs; these agencies work collaboratively with military bases to provide therapeutic recreation services to rehabilitate our soldiers who have been wounded in battle; they improve the quality of life and the functionality of our children who have autism through numerous programs and services and provide so many other essential community services. Additionally, state and local park and recreation agencies serve to protect our environment and promote environmental stewardship. LWCF grants have funded projects that contribute to reduced storm water runoff, enhanced groundwater recharge, pollutant reductions, urban heat island mitigation, and reduced energy demands.

*LWCF is one of only two federal programs that directly funds state and local parks and recreation facilities. These facilities provide important recreation opportunities, support after school programs, enhance environmental conservation and education, help curb obesity, and contribute to the economic vitality of communities across the nation.

*Recent studies estimate that 20 new jobs are created for every $1 million of invested in parks and recreation construction. The investment of $100 million will create 2,000 jobs

*These projects such as new roofs for community centers, irrigation systems for sport fields, repairs to bring facilities into ADA compliance, and electrical upgrades to park and recreation facilities would allow communities to preserve, rehabilitate and maintain the already existing infrastructure that provides numerous recreational opportunities for citizens.

*Many of these projects are especially suitable for small or minority businesses and contractors.

*Enhancing and restoring community parks and recreation resources increases quality of life, attracts new businesses and residents to communities, increases property values, and creates new employment opportunities.

Please let NRPA know if you contact your Senator, and what their response was, so we can continue our advocacy efforts. For questions or updates on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, please contact Becky Webb-Morser at bwebbmorser@nrpa.org or 202.887.0290

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