Notable News

April 1, 2016, Department, by NRPA

-     BASF, a leading global chemical company at the forefront of sustainable construction solutions, released a white paper titled, “Co-Creating Solutions for Urban Neighborhoods in Coastal Cities: A Look at Red Hook, Brooklyn,” that offers five solutions to help Red Hook rebuild from the $32 billion in property damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and be better prepared to withstand extreme weather. BASF engaged leading subject matter experts, including Terreform ONE and the Stevens Institute of Technology, among others, alongside Red Hook residents to crowdsource and co-create innovative solutions to transform not only the Brooklyn neighborhood, but also serve as a model for other coastal cities around the globe at high risk of flooding and impacts of climate change. Click here to read the white paper.


-     State and local government agencies (e.g., cities, counties, legal subdivisions such as park districts, etc.) and federally recognized Indian tribes within or serving areas delineated by the Census Bureau from the 2010 census as having populations of 50,000 or more people and consisting of densely settled territory, have until May 20 to apply for The National Park Services (NPS) Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP) competitive grants, made available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The NPS will entertain project proposals ranging from $250,000 to $750,000 each, and planning grants up to $75,000. Projects must have matching funds and partners. Outside of the planning grants, funding for eligible projects can be used to acquire and/or develop land to create new, or reinvigorate existing, public parks and other outdoor recreation spaces in neighborhoods that are underserved or lack such opportunities. Proposals should be developed in cooperation with the lead agency for LWCF in each state. The full funding opportunity announcement and pre-application materials are available online. Look for Funding Opportunity No. P16AS00065; Title: Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program.


-     Last month, voters in Fayetteville, North Carolina, approved a $35 million bond issue for parks and recreation projects. This bond authorizes the city to borrow up to $35 million to build two senior centers, a tennis complex, a sports field complex, two skateboarding parks, a Cape Fear River park, seven splash pads and seven neighborhood park improvements. To support the bond, property taxes will go up this summer by 1.35 cents per $100 in property valuation. The city council and mayor see these projects as “a badly needed investment for a city of about 208,000 residents that has grown rapidly,” and “would help make the city more attractive to newcomers and businesses and give young people more to do.” The projects are scheduled to be built between fiscal years 2018 and 2022.

-      Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray signed an executive order aimed at making public spaces safer for transgender and gender-diverse people. Front-line city staff, from those at the Seattle Public Library to parks and recreation, will be trained in the ordinances and laws that protect the rights of transgender people and protect them from harassment and violence. The Seattle Office of Civil Rights will work with the Pride Foundation and other groups to develop guidelines and training. The move follows an initiative to repeal a state rule allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. The order also instructs staff to continue notifying businesses about the city ordinance designating public single-stall restrooms as all-gender.


-      Las Vegas City officials are pouring approximately $2 million into restoring Kiel Ranch Historic Park, a historically significant site, thought to be one of Las Vegas’ first settled spots. It’s also home to one of the state’s oldest buildings, known as the Adobe (circa 1880s to 1900), and an active artesian spring. The park, which is slated to be completed in 2017, will see the restoration of the spring wetland habitat; the adobe structure surrounded by a history walk with interpretive stations that relate to each of the ranch’s eras; a small orchard, showcasing historic fruit trees; and picnic and open spaces. Construction funding was made possible in part by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act and from Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.


-      A federal law suit brought by Gilbert and Debbie Jimenez, a New Smyrna Beach couple who were told by police to leave Manatee Island for feeding the homeless there, spurred the city of Daytona Beach, Florida, to lift a 12-year-old ban on providing free food to the homeless in city parks and changed the way it will handle an array of park rule violations. The new procedures stipulate that permission will only be granted for one use, per park, per week, which means there can only be one feeding per week in any given park. Each use will be limited to 3.5 hours, including setup and cleanup time, and will only be allowed from sunup to sundown when the parks are open.