2008-06-13 / Top Stories

Possible Legislation Brings Hope For Parks

By Christine Cea

New legislation, currently under review, would help rejuvenate our city's parks immensely. The National Park Service Centennial Initiative would call for using the years leading up to the park system's 100th birthday in 2016 to raise one billion dollars privately, matched by one billion dollars in federal money.

Thought of by Dirk Kempthorne, Interior Secretary, he is hopeful that the promise of federal money would serve as incentive for public donations. The House of Natural Resource Committee vibrantly agreed, approving it by a voice vote.

The legislation however has since weakened due to disagreements.

House members are calling for offsetting revenue-raising measures to pay for the bill, while the budget office claims they are unable to afford these offsets. One possible solution suggested is finding offsets, such as by increasing park concession fees, and then scheduling a vote with a hopefully positive outcome.

If the legislation is passed, it would greatly enhance the work of activist Floyd Smith. Smith has been diligently petitioning at Riis Park by setting up tables each weekend and voicing the need for greater care of the parks, well-needed repairs, more lifeguards, and other issues - problems that could possibly vanquish if the legislation is passed.

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