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Legislation Introduced in Senate will Breathe Life into Urban Parks and Recreation

Authorizes competitive grants to help urban communities with jobs, health, and economic growth

ASHBURN, Va., Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC), along with Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), introduced important legislation that will help revitalize urban areas making them healthier, more livable, and economically competitive through improved access to public parks and recreation programs and services.  The National Recreation and Park Association commend the senators for introducing the Community Parks Revitalization (CPR) Act in support and recognition of the vital role public parks, green space, and recreation opportunities play in growing the economy, improving health outcomes, and advancing conservation initiatives at the local level.  

A companion to the House bill, H.R. 709, the CPR Act authorizes the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to establish and carry out competitive matching grants to parks and recreation departments in metropolitan areas for the construction of new indoor and outdoor recreational resources and the refurbishment of existing facilities.  In addition, it focuses on access for veterans and military families, combating and preventing obesity and related chronic diseases, reducing crime among at-risk youth, and creating youth employment opportunities. The National Recreation and Park Association worked closely in the shaping of the bill and in securing the bill's co-sponsors and introduction in the Senate.

Nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, many of which are struggling with declining economies, poor health, and a lack of green space.  Numerous studies have shown that access to parks, recreation, and green space can help revitalize declining communities by attracting businesses, improving property values, and increasing access to health and wellness opportunities. 

"Parks and recreation are absolutely essential for the economic and environmental vitality as well as physical wellness of urban communities throughout this country," says Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA. "The CPR Act is a critical piece of legislation that recognizes this and we commend Sens. Hagan, Kerry and Gillibrand on their efforts to introduce the bill."   

"This legislation will not only provide for the rehabilitation of neglected recreation facilities and green spaces in our city centers, but it will also promote job creation and opportunities for safe and healthy activities in urban public sites," says Senator Hagan. "Investment in parks and recreation attracts businesses, promotes conservation in a non-regulatory fashion and enhances quality of life for hard-working Americans and their families."

For more information on the CPR Act, visit www.NRPA.org/getinvolved.    

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people.  Through its network of 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.  For more information, visit www.NRPA.org.  For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

SOURCE National Recreation and Park Association

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