Today, Congressman Albio Sires introduced the Community Parks Revitalization Act. This legislation is modeled after the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, which he introduced in the 111th and 112th Congresses with strong bipartisan support. The Community Parks Revitalization Act would create federal, matching grant programs and secured loans to revitalize parks and park infrastructure.
"In New Jersey's 8th district, our parks and green spaces play a key role in creating vibrant, livable communities where people want to live and businesses want to invest," said Congressman Sires. "With most Americans living in urban and metropolitan regions, it's critical that we provide communities with the tools they need to create new or rehabilitee existing parks and recreation spaces."
This legislation would provide three types of federal grants and technical assistance programs which must be matched with local funds. Rehabilitation and construction grants would aid local governments in rebuilding and expanding new and existing parks and recreational facilities, while innovation grants would address personnel, facility, equipment, and supply needs for parks and recreation facilities. In addition, the innovation grant would provide funds for new or existing programs that provide opportunities for returning veterans and active duty military and their families, or programs that provide constructive alternatives for at-risk youth. Lastly, recovery action program grants would promote development of local park and recreation recovery action programs by involving the community and youth to develop priorities and goals.
New to the Community Parks Revitalization Act is an innovative financing mechanism that would establish a program for secured loans and loan guarantees for the development of parks and recreation infrastructure. This program, modeled after the popular Transportation Infrastructure Innovative Financing Act (TIFIA), would allow either large scale projects such as trail systems, or multiple communities bundling multiple projects together, to take advantage of low cost financing.
"At a time when many Americans are affected by deteriorating community infrastructure, this bipartisan legislation would help to create jobs, reduce crime, and create healthy, vibrant neighborhoods," said Sires. "I have always been a strong supporter of creating livable communities, and public parks and recreation facilities help us achieve that important goal by improving health, revitalizing local economies, and creating neighborhoods where people want to live and work."