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Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

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Location: Washington, DC

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By Mrs. HAGAN (for herself, Mr. KERRY, and Mrs. GILLIBRAND):

S. 3583. A bill to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to establish and carry out a community revitalization program to provide Federal grants to communities for the rehabilitation of critically needed parks, recreational areas, and facilities, the development of improved recreational programs, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Mrs. HAGAN. Mr. President, I rise today to highlight the impact that local parks, greenways, and recreational opportunities have in neighborhoods and communities across the country.

Many Americans are dealing with the effects of a stagnant economy, the rising cost of health care, and threats to the overall quality of life in their communities. Research shows that investment in parks and recreation creates jobs, attracts business, increases property values, positively impacts public health, promotes conservation in a non-regulatory fashion, and contributes to a higher quality of life for hard-working Americans and their families. Additionally, recreation for disabled veterans has proven to be a powerful tool in the rehabilitation process, providing a number of significant therapeutic benefits for those who have served our country. Yet, many of our most populated areas are suffering from limited green space, deteriorating community facilities, and a lack of access to safe, quality recreation opportunities.

I have seen first-hand the tremendous impact that parks, greenways, and recreation opportunities have had in my hometown of Greensboro, a three time winner of the National Recreation and Park Association's Gold Medal Award. North Carolina's beautiful capital city, Raleigh, which is often referred to as ``a city within a park'', has been recognized over the last several years by publications such as Forbes, Business Week, and the Wall Street Journal as the best city for business, best city for jobs, and the nation's best place to live. All of these accolades are due in large part to the high quality of the parks and recreational facilities present throughout the community and were often noted when describing the criteria for making these ``best of'' selections.

For all of these reasons, today I am introducing the Community Parks Revitalization Act with Senator KERRY and Senator GILLIBRAND. The bill will authorize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide grants and technical assistance to rehabilitate community parks and recreational infrastructure. This legislation would also help communities provide improved opportunities for returning veterans, military families, and at-risk youth. Specifically, the Community Parks for Revitalization Act would provide matching grants to support localities by creating jobs and leveraging private investment by supporting capital projects that rehabilitate, and construct new, parks and recreation areas and facilities.

The act will combat childhood obesity by connecting youth with the outdoors and improving overall public health by increasing access to recreational areas and facilities; by providing innovative, cost-effective, and non-regulatory solutions to environmental challenges; and by addressing the recreation needs of disabled veterans, military families, as well as disadvantaged youth.

I ask all of my colleagues to please join me in supporting this timely legislation.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the RECORD,

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