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The Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2016 (SB-317)

Posted by Heather Davis, Open Space Policy Analyst on March 18th, 2015
Photo credit flickr user The City Project (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Last month California State Senator Kevin de León authored a new proposed parks measure that will likely go to vote on November 8, 2016.

Recognizing the value of parks and recreation for the general public, the Senator’s proposal seeks to issue state bonds to municipalities in order to finance park, natural area, and conservation projects.  According to de Leon, statewide demand for local parks often exceeds available funding, sometimes by a factor of eight to one with the most demand stemming from urban disadvantaged communities. As low income communities of color are disproportionately burdened by poor health outcomes and preventable diseases, park demand in these communities, which tend to be park poor is a key point given that a lack of access to parks and open space limits opportunities for active and passive recreation, which is needed for physical and community health.

The fine print is still to be written, but the Act will establish a fund to support the creation and expansion of safe neighborhood parks in critically underserved communities, programs that protect rivers, lakes, streams, and their watersheds, the protection of beaches, bays, and coastal resources, and grants to improve the climate resilience of urban areas and natural resources.

Though the Act is initiated at the state level, CHC will be closely monitoring how the proposal develops, with a focus on ensuring that the most critically underserved communities are appropriately prioritized.

For more information, please contact Community Health Councils’ Policy Analyst, Heather Davis at heather@chc-inc.org.

Posted in 2015