García, Quigley Introduce Legislation to Preserve and Protect Park Districts
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the Park District Community Support Grant Program. This program would allow the Department of Interior to provide up to $100 million to park districts for a variety of projects to support community engagement and preserve and protect historic structures like those at many of Chicago’s famous urban parks.
“My neighbors recognize that green space is necessary for our social, mental, and physical well-being, but like other communities of color across the country, we suffer from a lack of parks and recreational spaces. La Villita Park, the first large park built in 75 years in our community, was the culmination of more than two decades of organizing. Our communities shouldn’t have to wait decades for a park,” said Congressman García. “Not only are recreational spaces crucial to our health, they help us celebrate the richness and vibrancy of our communities. Congress must ensure that neighborhoods like mine across the country have equitable access to parks and the resources necessary to maintain them.”
“Park districts are home not just to outdoor recreation facilities but to century old buildings and other historic landmarks. Chicago’s seventy-acre South Shore Cultural Center, just one example, includes a golf course, beach, and open areas, and a cultural center building that is a historic site that dates back to 1905,” said Quigley. “Because of their unique mix of outdoor spaces and historic structures, there’s no federal funding program that helps support the vital preservation work that park districts do. With this bill, these unique aspects of our parks would receive the funding they need to continue to serve our communities.”
Specifically, García’s and Quigley legislation would make park districts eligible to receive grant funds for the maintenance of land and water for parks, the operation of new or renovation of outdoor recreation facilities, and for the building operation, maintenance, or refurbishment of indoor or outdoor park district facilities.
Park districts around the country maintain historic and cultural sites and provide indoor and outdoor space for children, adults, and families to enjoy sports and recreational activities and. The Chicago Park District, the largest municipal park manager in the nation, owns more than 8,800 acres of green space, including 600 parks, 28 indoor pools, 50 outdoor pools, and 26 miles of lakefront.