Nov 15th 2017 | Posted in Opportunities by Kristin Gordon

The National Park Service (NPS) in October announced plans to increase entrance fees in 17 of the country’s most visited parks from about $25 to $70 per vehicle. The entry pass would be valid for a week. The cost of riding a motorcycle into the parks would rise to $50 and walking or biking through the entrance would cost $30. The price increase is intended to make up for an $11 billion backlog of maintenance and infrastructure projects in national parks. President Donald Trump wants to cut 13 percent from the National Park Service’s budget in the next fiscal year and that could increase the backlog of park improvement projects.
Those against the increase in park fees say that the administration and Congress should support the National Park Service Legacy Act. The bipartisan legislation in Congress dedicates existing federal revenues to address the Park Service’s maintenance backlog. The bill would dedicate more than $11 billion to national park improvement projects over the next 30 years.
Under bills introduced in both the House (H.R. 2584) and Senate (S. 751) earlier this year, contributions to the fund would ramp up over time, from $50 million a year in 2018 through 2020 to $500 million a year in 2027 through 2047. Backers of the legislation want to pay for it with revenues from oil, gas, coal and other mineral operations. And it would give Congress the authority to review all proposed maintenance projects.
park Parks to receive funding for upgradesPublic comments are being accepted through Nov. 23 on the NPS website. While Congress hashes out bills and fees at the national level, parks and recreation departments at the city, county and state level are trying to keep up with the development of new parks and the upkeep and maintenance of current green spaces by requesting designers, developers and builders for an assortment of projects.

While Congress hashes out bills and fees at the national level, parks and recreation departments at the city, county and state level are trying to keep up with the development of new parks and the upkeep and maintenance of current green spaces.  

In Pennsylvania, proposed renovations at Bingham Park, located in Wayne County, were outlined last month by the at the Borough Parks and Recreation Commission. Renderings show upgrades to ball fields, tennis, skateboard and basketball courts, turf in-fields, bleachers, parking, renovating the bandstand, walking trails and potential river access for kayaking. The multi-phase project is expected to cost over a million dollars. Plans to fund the projects will come from grant money and donations. A more complete discussion will follow at a public meeting Dec. 13. 

The Washington Parks Department in Missouri has been told to trim down its project list. The city’s capital improvement sales tax expires in 2018 and the new committee has been tasked with selecting projects that could be funded if it is renewed. The tax is estimated to generate $12.6 million. At the top of the list for the parks department is a new administration/maintenance building totaling $1.8 million. A new pool facility would cost $7.5 million and the city’s auditorium needs a new roof and air conditioning. Projects at the fairgrounds include a multipurpose building, fencing and a mainstage roof for $2.9 million.  The parks department will refine the numbers and revisit the project list at the next sales tax committee meeting Nov. 28. 

In North Carolina, the former Cooked Creek Golf Course in southern Wake County will become a park. Most of the site – 143 acres – could become a county park with trails and other amenities. The remaining 21 acres could be home to a future elementary school. Wake County Commissioners have discussed putting a bond referendum on the ballot next year. Commissioners intend to purchase the golf course for $3.9 million. The estimated cost to pursue the project is $23 million.   

The Sioux City Parks and Recreation Department will hold a public meeting Nov. 30 to seek feedback on the development of the Sioux City Riverfront project in Iowa. Sioux City kicked off the design phase for the riverfront development earlier this year. The city has set a budget of about $12 million for the development project. Amenities could include an interactive fountain, sport courts, overlooks, a dog park, a yoga lawn, restrooms and added parking. Other suggested features have included a pedestrian bridge and Ferris wheel. 

In 2008, Georgetown voters in Texas passed a $35.5 million bond for parks and recreation projects. Garey Park is one of the projects getting a $13.5 million renovation and expansion. Garey Park will feature an events center, splash pads and a playground. It will also include 6 miles of equestrian trails and 3 miles of hiking trails. The park is expected to open in April. San Gabriel Park, one of the city’s oldest will be renovated in two phases. The first phase will cost $2.5 million, and the second phase will cost $3 million to build. Renovations will include new picnic pavilions, playgrounds, swing sets, renovated parking areas, bathrooms and improving access points for the river. Construction on the second phase is slated to begin in May and take up to a year to complete. 

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