The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today approved a resolution that supports permanent reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The resolution passed unanimously at the USCM annual meeting in Indianapolis, IN. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski was one of the lead sponsors of the resolution and is a member of the Mayors for Parks Coalition.
Pawlowski said, “Mayors across the country recognize the importance of LWCF and are taking action to ensure that it continues to serve their communities. Investments in community parks improve quality of life, help expand local economies by creating jobs, increasing property values, and attracting the kinds of businesses, workforces, and private capital that make cities like Allentown competitive in today’s global economy.”
Created in 1964 with strong bipartisan support, LWCF has supported more than 42,000 projects in almost every county in the country. Offshore oil and gas royalties pay for the fund, making it one of our most effective federal programs. Unfortunately, LWCF has only been funded at its full, $900 million authorized amount once in its history.
The resolution highlights the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Grant Program Act of 2015 which would codify the existing National Park Service program established by Congress that gives grants to disadvantaged urban communities. The resolution also calls on Congress to resurrect the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) program, which provides resources directly to cities for urban parks, but had not been funded since 2002.
“Cities thrive when we prioritize public parks. Industry flourishes, and residents and their children are happier and healthier,” said Pawlowski. “Congress should permanently reauthorize this fund, so that we may expand outdoor areas and recreational opportunities for all.”
This summer the LWCF will mark its 52nd anniversary and is one of the most successful programs in the nation. Grants to cities are matched by local contributions doubling the return on investment. LWCF has been used to create parks, playgrounds, urban wildlife refuges, greenways, trails, and open space in all 50 states.
“The nation’s Mayors stand ready to work in partnership with the President, all members of the Administration, and Congress to create healthy and vibrant urban parks and open spaces, and will work to engage the public and private leaders in this effort,” the resolution says.
The full text of the Conference of Mayors resolution can be found on the Mayors for Parks website: https://community.usmayors.org/ResolutionDetail?id=a0F61000003risLEAQ.
City Parks Alliance is the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks. Its mission is to engage, educate and nurture a broad based constituency to support the creation, revitalization and sustainability of parks and green spaces that contribute to dynamic cities. City Parks Alliance unites and serves a growing network of hundreds of civic and community leaders, government agencies, parks and recreation authorities, funders and others.