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Good news for fans of city parks

Posted Dec. 22, 2015

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Mayor being interviewed
Mayor Betsy Price welcomed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to Gateway Park in 2014 to show how the Land and Water Conservation Fund benefits outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

An important parks program received a three-year renewal in the recently released federal spending bill.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund — the government’s main fund for land conservation — will get $450 million in the coming fiscal year. That’s the highest funding level LWCF has received since 2010 and an almost 50 percent increase over the previous level.

Congress sparked concern this fall when it allowed the 50-year-old LWCF, which has enjoyed bipartisan support, to expire — the first such disappearing act since it was enacted in 1965.

The program directs some money from offshore oil and natural gas drilling to fund the creation and maintenance of greenways, trails and other outdoor spaces in every state. It supports national parks and forests and provides matching grants to local governments for green space projects, such as Gateway Park in east Fort Worth.

“I’m thrilled that additional funding was restored for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Mayor Betsy Price, co-chair of a national bipartisan coalition called Mayors for Parks. “It’s critical that we encourage families to increase physical activity to address the childhood obesity epidemic in our cities. LWCF is an essential tool for Fort Worth and other cities to use to create new and revitalized parks, green spaces and recreation opportunities.”

Gateway Park is a prime example of how the LWCF can improve the quality of life for local residents. The state of Texas has leveraged funding through the program to make Gateway Park a prime destination for recreation, with equestrian, hiking and biking trails; soccer fields; a canoe and kayak launch; and a fishing pier. The projects are part of $179 million in state and local assistance grants made to Texas since 1964.

Read a U.S. News & World Report op-ed article written by Mayor Price.

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