May 31st, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2013
Contact: David Weinberg. 512-477-4424. firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXAS LEGISLATURE ENHANCES FUNDING FOR LOCAL PARKS
LOCAL COMMUNITIES WILL SEE INCREASE IN AVAILABLE FUNDING FOR NEW FACILITIES, LAND FOR LOCAL PARKS
AUSTIN, TX—Statewide environmental groups joined municipal organizations to laud the Texas Legislature’s approval of funding for local parks grants aimed at building new facilities and acquiring additional parks land.
“During the last legislative session, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department budget was cut by nearly 28 percent, forcing elimination of popular programs and lay offs,” said TLCV-EF Executive Director David Weinberg. “We saw some progress and promise in restoring our state and local parks budgets this session. Although there’s still much work to be done, the local park grants funding is truly a shining star in the state’s budget. It’s a win for Texas families and all those who love our urban and suburban parks.”
The Legislature restored $15.5 million to the grants program over the next two years and provided an additional $869,000 to maintain administrative staff that will not count against local parks departments’ grant requests.
“Texas families rely on our local parks and playgrounds for picnics, swimming and just having fun outside,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We applaud the Legislature for restoring funding for the grant program, which helps our communities keep up with the growing demand for quality outdoor recreation opportunities.”
“Local parks serve as outdoor classrooms and gyms for a wide variety of Texans, especially children,” said Scheleen Walker, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter Director. “I appreciate the stalwart support our members and others provide all public parks every day. I am thrilled this Legislature recognized the folly of zeroing out funding for local parks last session and partially restored this important economic development tool to local jurisdictions.”
TLCV-EF and its allies have worked diligently in recent years to educate Texans on and advocate for clean air, clean water, renewable energy and the protection of parks, opens spaces, and wildlife habitat.
Local parks officials and municipal organizations are welcoming the good news from the Texas Legislature, too.
“Texans love the outdoors. At the same time, more people live in urban areas than ever before in Texas history. The 83rd Texas Legislature is to be congratulated for providing funding to acquire and develop open space close to home in our urban areas which will provide park land for connecting people with nature and ultimately as a destination for healthier life styles. This was a step in the right direction and we thank our State leaders,” said Mick Massey, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Richardson and a leader in the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS).
Bennett Sandlin, Executive Director of the Texas Municipal League added, “Texas Municipal League is pleased that some local parks grant money was restored. While the amount is less than half of what previously came to cities, it’s an improvement over the current biennium. Texas cities get very little in aid from their state government; what they do get they should be able to count on.”
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The Texas League of Conservation Voters Educational Fund is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that educates Texans on and advocates for clean air, clean water, renewable energy and the protection of parks, opens spaces, and wildlife habitat. Find us online at http://www.tlcvef.org and follow us on Twitter @tlcvef.