The Long Strange Disappointing Transportation Trip
After almost three years and nine extensions, the House and Senate have finally struck a deal that will likely result in Congress passing a bill by this Saturday – the day the bill is set to expire. Unfortunately, many of the carefully crafted bi-partisan reforms and compromises included in the Senate passed bill (S. 1318 or MAP-21) have been removed. Read what this deal means for parks and recreation.
A Different Kind of Picnic In the Park
Nearly 20 million children receive free or reduced-priced lunches at school each year. However, during the summer months fewer than 3 million children partake in free summer lunch. This is a gap of more than 16 million kids who can receive a free healthy lunch each day school is out, but don’t. Why is this? Read this moving blog by NRPA's Jimmy O'Connor on how park and recreation agencies are serving to fill this gap this summer, helping improve lives and communities.
Are Earmarks Truly Dead
Park and recreation agencies, like many other local government agencies, have benefitted from federal earmarks. But the federal earmark ban that took effect two years ago has made it difficult local governments to fund many local projects, such as park and recreation projects. Discussions on the Hill, now have many wondering whether earmarks are truly dead. Read the latest from NRPA's Public Policy team to learn more about this issue.
Parks and Re-Creation--An Interview with Dan Biederman
Daniel A. Biederman, president of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, is well known for his work as a transformer of urban parks. While he is most famous for revitalizing Manhattan’s Bryant Park in the 1990s (primarily through corporate sponsorships), he has also
Show Me the Money
NRPA Board Chair, Robert C. Johnson, discusses economic models, one of the three main areas of focus for NRPA in 2012. In his post he welcomes your feedback on what's working in the field.
Financing the Future of Urban Parks and Recreation – 8 questions to ponder
NRPA and the Urban Institute released a new report, “Financing the Future: The Critical Role of Parks in Urban and Metropolitan Infrastructure.” The report, written by noted author, urban planner, and former mayor of Ventura, California, William Fulton, analyzes discussion from a roundtable held in Washington, DC in the fall of 2011 with national experts including park directors, mayors, and urban planners.
Walking and Bicycling Trails – The Crossroads of Federal Transportation Policy and Local Recreation Infrastructure
Editor’s Note: NRPA recently asked Mr. Christopher B. Douwes, Trails and Enhancements Manager with the Federal Highway Administration to provide some factual background and insight on the Transportation Enhancements (TE) and Recreational Trails Program (RTP) initiatives and the role they play in promoting active transportation. As Congress considers its priorities for 2012; one piece of pressing business is the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act. The current law, known as SAFETEA-LU is set to expire March 31, and the House and Senate have announced plans to debate and vote on their respective reauthorization packages in the coming days and weeks.
Connecting the Links
By now you have seen several posts in this blog talking about the process that goes into funding park and recreation programs. Very likely not everyone knows all that goes into the proverbial sausage-making, with some Members of Congress having more influence than others, all the behind the scenes squabbling, and the obvious disorganization trying to create something that actually looks organized when it’s finished. Actually, you might not want to know the details. If laws really are like sausages, maybe it is better not to see them being made. In any case, here’s a quick lesson on this often not-so-appetizing process.
Down But Not Out
The full Senate Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Committee unanimously approved its bipartisan two-year highway reauthorization bill (S. 1813) today by an 18-0 vote. The bill, known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (or MAP 21), as drafted will dramatically reduce the available funding for Transportation Enhancements (TE), the Rails to Trails Program (RTP) and Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) by consolidating them into the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) fund.
The End of Thinking Outside the Box
At the special roundtable, “Financing the Future” hosted by NRPA and the Urban Institute on September 27th in Washington, D.C., one comment in particular came through loud and clear: There are no more boxes to think outside of anymore. How true. In a full day of frank and passionate exchanges among not only parks professionals and advocates, but also mayors of U.S. cities, speaker after speaker offered ideas, insight, and counsel for what ails the financing of parks and recreation in America. Not everyone agreed with each other, and that was good. Much common ground was identified, which more than ever is crucial for moving forward.