The United States Conference of Mayors: Celebrating 75 Years

Scottsdale Mayor Campana Urges Congress to Support Local Parks

By Tom McClimon

scottsdale.gif (36243 bytes)Leading off the Conference of Mayors Spring initiative on parks, Scottsdale Mayor Sam Kathryn Campana testified on March 9th before the House Resources Committee in support of proposed federal legislation that would provide funding for local parks and recreation programs.

Appearing before the full Committee chaired by Congressman Don Young (AK) on behalf of the Conference of Mayors, Mayor Campana told the Members that "for far too long the federal government has not fulfilled the commitment it made over 30 years ago when it created the Land and Water Conservation Fund program to ensure that all Americans would have access to nearby parks and recreation resources." She urged the Committee members to support funding for the stateside program of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR).

Paraphrasing from a statement used often by former Conference of Mayors President and Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, Mayor Campana stated that "...our most important park is not Yellowstone, but the one down the street that serves our children every day." Mayor Campana went on to state: "Urban parks, recreation areas, and open space are critical to the vitality of our nation’s cities and the citizens we serve. The Land and Water Conservation Fund and UPARR will help to provide for the park down the street where parents play ball with their sons and daughters, where toddlers explore a playground, where the neighborhood soccer team practices, where teenagers can go to just blow of steam, and where seniors can walk along the park paths."

Citing examples from her own community of Scottsdale, Mayor Campana talked about how the LWCF provided funding for the park where Scottsdale’s first community swimming pool is located. Scottsdale received 20 LWCF grants from 1965 through 1984, totaling $2.1 million which leveraged over $4 million in local funds. She went on to talk about how the community has recently passed two local sales tax referendums to preserve the Sonoran Desert.

In closing, Mayor Campana suggested that Congress allow cities and counties to apply directly for LWCF funds rather than through the states and that the UPARR funds be allowed to be used for both land acquisition as well as the development and maintenance of locals parks and recreation programs.

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