WHO: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assistant Assembly Majority Leader Kevin de León
WHAT: Bill Signing Ceremony for Assembly Bill 31: “The Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act”
WHERE: Rio de Los Angeles State Park, 1900 San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, CA 90065, (323) 276-3015 City of Los Angeles, (213) 620-6152 State Parks
WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Thursday, October 2, 2008, SUBJECT TO CHANGE Contact Kevin DeLeon’s office (323) 225-4545 for additional information.
The City Project supports the implementation of AB 31 through regulations that ensure park funds target underserved communities that are both park poor and economically poor. Download our Policy Brief here.
Governor Schwarznegger, The City Project’s Robert Garcia, and Community Leaders October 2, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Dan Reeves (916)319-2045
September 30, 2008
SACRAMENTO, CA— Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today signed AB 31 by Assistant Majority Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) to prioritize $400 million of Proposition 84 park funds for underserved and park-poor communities throughout California. This is the largest single investment in local parks in the nation’s history.
“I am grateful to the Governor for lending his support to prioritizing park funding from Proposition 84 for park-starved communities,” said Assemblymember de León. “For too long poor minority communities have been marginalized when it comes to parks and that needs to end. We are in the midst of a national obesity crisis. Children living in poor, park-starved communities in urban, suburban and rural areas deserve safe, open spaces to play in and enjoy. I look forward to working with the State Department of Parks and Recreation to getting funding out the door. Together we will create jobs and critical park space in poor communities across the state.”
In 2006, California voters approved Proposition 84, which included an appropriation of $400 million dollars for park funds for underserved communities. Over the past two years, Assistant Majority Leader Kevin de León fought to ensure that those funds were prioritized. Communities in highest need of park funds throughout California will now benefit from his efforts.
Cities across the United States suffer from limited park access; however California’s park deficiencies are stark in comparison. Based on acres per person, Los Angeles (11.8 acres) has about a third of the park space of New York City (37.3 acres). Chicago (18.7 acres), Boston (18 acres), and Philadelphia (17.1 acres) all lead Los Angeles in park space. These disparities are even more prevalent in lower-income and ethnic neighborhoods. Studies show that predominantly white Los Angeles neighborhoods have 31.8 acres of park space for every 1,000 people, compared with 1.7 acres in African-American neighborhoods, 0.6 acres in Latino neighborhoods, and 0.3 acres in Asian-Pacific Islander neighborhoods.
Assembly Bill 31 establishes a competitive grants program administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). It targets $400 million of Proposition 84 park funds to park-starved communities statewide. These communities are those that suffer from higher rates of crime, unemployment, poverty, school drop-outs, and health ailments, such as obesity and asthma. Health studies show that providing people with green space and places to play has broad cumulative impacts. Simply stated, creating parks improves poor communities and changes children’s lives.
Assembly Bill 31 was supported by over 80 organizations and local governments across California. The State Department of Parks and Recreation will develop regulations over the next several months and hope to begin inviting applications for funding in the fall of 2009.