Mayors ask for federal funding for parks to keep communities connected

Written by on July 8, 2021

Mayors ask for federal funding for parks to keep communities connected

By Julia Agos / WITF
July 8, 2021

Photo by Chris J Mitchell from Pexels

HARRISBURG, Pa. – More than a dozen city leaders, including the mayors of Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, are calling on Congress to pass the Parks, Jobs and Equity Act.

The legislation would invest some $500 million into 1,000 parks nationwide. Its backers say it would create about 8,000 jobs.

Owen Franklin, the Pennsylvania State Director for The Trust for Public Land, helped organize the coalition. He says the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for outdoor spaces.

“We’ve all seen this past year and a half now, how important it’s been to have access to those spaces and the extent to which those spaces connect us to each other, provide opportunities for mental and physical wellbeing, provide safe spaces to be out of your home,” Franklin says. 

Research shows parks can improve community health and climate resilience by reducing flooding, absorbing air pollution, and filtering storm water to keep rivers and lakes cleaner.

Nearly half of all Pennsylvanians lack access to outdoor recreation space within a 10-minute walk of their home. 

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