Mayors for Parks
More than at any other time in our history, urban areas are the engines generating our nation’s wealth and strong cities are the key to keeping America competitive in the rapidly changing global economy. Mayors understand that investments in community parks help grow local economies by creating jobs, increasing property values, and attracting the kinds of businesses, workforces, and private capital that make metropolitan areas economically competitive in today’s global economy. Mayors also know that parks are critical to maintaining and improving the physical and mental health of all Americans. And parks provide wide ranging environmental benefits including keeping our urban waters clean and removing air pollution which has been linked to asthma in children.
The Mayors for Parks Coalition recently had a historic win, when on August 4, 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law. The law provides $900 million in permanent and dedicated annual funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF provides funding for national, state and local parks and is funded through revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling royalties, a portion of which is matched by state and local contributions – increasing the return on investment without using federal tax dollars. The LWCF has supported more than 44,000 projects in 98% of the nation’s counties. It is a smart and effective use of federal funds for all Americans.
The Coalition supports increased funding for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP), a program within LWCF. The ORLP is a national, competitive grant program that delivers funding to urban areas with priority given to projects located in economically disadvantaged areas and lacking in outdoor recreation opportunities. These awards help urban communities address outdoor recreation deficits by supporting projects that create new outdoor recreation spaces and renovate existing parks.
The Mayors for Parks Coalition is also asking for a one-time historic investment of $500 million for our nation’s city parks to help during this global pandemic. This request could be included in a stimulus/relief package or an infrastructure package.
We are proud to stand with the bi‐partisan Mayors for Parks Coalition and to add our voice in support of this national campaign for increased federal funding for our nation’s city parks. This will in turn strengthen our city parks and is a key step forward in ensuring that our cities and our nation’s economy are stronger than ever.