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Hagan Introduces Urban Parks Revitalization Legislation

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U.S. Senator Kay Hagan today introduced legislation aimed at revitalizing economically distressed urban and metropolitan communities by improving access to recreation facilities and green space. The Community Parks Revitalization Act will boost economic development and provide healthy options for at-risk youth in America's inner cities.

"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," Hagan said. "Investment in parks and recreation attracts business, promotes conservation in a non-regulatory fashion and enhances quality of life for hard-working North Carolinians and their families."

Michelle Wells, Executive Director of the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association said, "North Carolina is excited to see Senator Hagan introduce this bill. Parks are great places for all of our citizens and offer avariety of benefits including improved physical and mental health, assist with providing clean air and water and offer a place in the community for socialization for all ages and backgrounds."

"This bill is one of the most innovative and comprehensive pieces of legislation to help parks and expand innovative recreation programs across the country," said Jim Garges, Mecklenburg County Director of Parks and Recreation. "It's important to have planning, construction and programming funds to implement these essential parks and programs. Senator Hagan should be congratulated for introducing this legislation."

A companion to the House bill, H.R. 709, this legislation authorizes the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to establish and carry out an urban revitalization and livable communities program to provide Federal grants to urban areas for the rehabilitation of critically needed recreational areas and facilities and for the development of improved recreation programs. Specifically, the Community Parks Revitalization Act would provide matching grants to support communities in:

Creating jobs and leveraging private investment by supporting capital projects that rehabilitate, and construct new, parks and recreation areas and facilities;
Combatting childhood obesity by connecting youth with the outdoors and improving overall public health by increasing access to recreational areas and facilities;
Providing innovative, cost-effective, and non-regulatory solutions to environmental challenges; and
Addressing the recreation needs ofdisabled veterans, military families, as well as disadvantaged youth.

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