Reps. García, Quigley Act to Support Park Districts
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Jesús "Chuy" García (IL-04) and Mike Quigley (IL-05); introduced a measure to create a new grant program in support of Park Districts. The proposal was introduced as an amendment to H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, House Democrat’s $1.5 trillion proposal to rebuild America’s infrastructure. Quigley and Garcia’s amendment would create a Park District Community Support grant program to 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.
“Communities of color in urban areas have historically faced barriers accessing green spaces which is why park districts are so important for the social, mental, and physical well-being of our community members. In my district, historic landmarks like the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture located in Humboldt Park also highlight our cultural richness and are treasured community assets,” said García. “All our communities should be able to access safe and clean recreational spaces. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this amendment with Congressman Quigley to invest in our outdoor spaces and historical sites, and help make cities like Chicago healthier, safer, and more connected.”
“In a time when we are all looking for new ways to get out of our homes safely, we are more aware than ever before of the importance of spaces for community recreation. Recreational spaces, like park districts, have long been underfunded, a problem which the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic are only exacerbating. Congress must step in to support these community programs,” said Quigley. “Not only do park districts provide us with space to play sports and do other outdoor activities, they also support cultural and historic buildings and other site which, here in Chicago, are frequently more than 100 years old. These facilities are integral to the cultural heritage of our city and support indispensable social and environmental programs for adults, children, and seniors alike.”
Specifically, park districts would be 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.