City Parks Alliance and our membership network are working to integrate parks into the national dialogue on urban renewal, public land investment, economic development and healthy communities. CPA serves as the “eyes and ears” in Washington for our members. We continue to advocate for full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and have organized member participation in the Listening Sessions around the White House America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and reconnect Americans to the outdoors.
CPA is evaluating legislative opportunities with the Administration and the new Congress during the next session of Congress on behalf of the following longer-term policy changes:
- Help recover and restore America’s urban parks by making them part of the infrastructure of federal health, housing, transportation, education, environmental, workforce, and community and economic development programs.
- Maximize the value and leveraging of limited federal dollars for public recreation priorities by creating new and dedicated federal funding sources for urban parks and tax incentives to enhance non-traditional funding and philanthropy for urban parks, and to encourage the already established network of private-public partnerships supporting them.
- Integrate parks and green infrastructure in the policy discussions around public health, in particular childhood obesity, to “connect the dots” between active lifestyles and access to nearby, safe places to play and recreate.
We organize our network with the following tools and events:
Annual “Day on the Hill” when urban parks advocates from across the country travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress, requesting support for city parks. We encourage CPA network advocates to make visits or place calls to their local Congressional offices that same day. CPA’s next “Day on the Hill” in April 2012 will include advocacy training, legislative briefings, networking with participants from other cities, meetings with lawmakers, and tools for continued engagement with Members of Congress and the CPA network.
Year-round outreach to federal policy makers. Building on the “Day on the Hill” activities, CPA creates and disseminates materials throughout the year to make the case for park investment, arranges congressional and agency staff briefings, and creates opportunities for on-the-ground tours for lawmakers. Action alerts, e-communications and conference calls with CPA members and partners on federal legislation, appropriations, hearings and policy developments.
National media outreach. CPA raises awareness of the need for park investment. This includes developing targeted messages, organizing press events and distributing press releases; cultivating relationships to pitch stories, placing op-eds and letters to the editor.