Washington, D.C., June 19, 2013—The American Society
of Landscape Architects commends Congressman Albio Sires (NJ) for reintroducing
today the Community Parks Revitalization Act (CPRA), which would help
communities to rehabilitate existing and develop new community parks and
outdoor recreational facilities.
Today, many communities are suffering from deteriorating
infrastructure, chronic stormwater management issues, lagging economies,
limited green spaces, poor health and chronic disease. Community parks and
other outdoor recreation facilities have a proven record for revitalizing
communities by: increasing economic development; improving public health;
increasing daily physical activity; reconnecting children with nature; reducing
crime; and providing safe, healthy alternatives for youth.
The Community Parks Revitalization Act (CPRA) will stimulate
neighborhood economic growth by leveraging limited public resources to generate
community reinvestment. Specifically, the bill will authorize grants for park
and recreation agencies, which must be matched with local funds. Grants could
be used to rehabilitate existing and develop new community parks and
recreational infrastructure. Additionally the bill now includes an
innovative financing mechanism that would establish a program for secured loans
and loan guarantees for the development of parks and recreation infrastructure.
Notably, this program, modeled after the popular Transportation Infrastructure
Innovative Financing Act (TIFIA), would allow either large scale projects such
as trail systems, or multiple communities to bundle multiple projects together
allowing eligible entities to take advantage of low cost financing.
“Considering that more than 80 percent of the U.S.
population now lives in urban areas, it is critical that our nation’s leaders
recognize the importance of quality of life in the communities where most
American live,” says Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of the National
Recreation and Park Association. “The CPR Act emphasizes the vital role local
parks and recreation plays in shaping and improving the economic vitality,
environmental and physical wellness of urban communities in the country.”
According to Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice
president and CEO of ASLA, the Community Parks Revitalization Act is a crucial
opportunity to strengthen American communities.
“ASLA supports legislation that will assist with the
rehabilitation and construction of urban parks and recreational facilities
across the country,” said Somerville. “Parks provide significant economic,
social, and environmental benefits to everyone in the community. Parks are not
just pretty places, but critical to the fabric of our daily lives.”
Somerville also noted that landscape architects, many of
whom are part of small businesses, plan and design community parks and other
outdoor recreational spaces. They help encourage physical activity by making
spaces more accessible, attractive and sustainable. Exposure to nature reduces
stress and improves mood. These spaces also absorb stormwater runoff, saving
cities millions of dollars and, more importantly, promoting healthier, happier
For more on ASLA's priority legislation visit www.asla.org/advocacy