Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

November 2020

2020 Voters Approve $3.7 Billion for Parks & Public Lands

According to an analysis by the Trust for Public Land (TPL), voters approved nearly $3.7 billion in new funding for parks, climate resiliency and public lands on election day. As the COVID-19 crisis drove unprecedented increases in visitation to public lands from neighborhood parks to national parks, the 2020 election gave voters in 48 jurisdictions across the country the opportunity to weigh in directly on how outdoor spaces improve their quality of life.

Though its Conservation Finance program and affiliated Trust for Public Land Action Fund, TPL actively helped design and sought voter support for park, climate and land conservation measures on the 2020 ballot in 25 communities. Altogether, TPL worked with local residents on 52% of all the parks and conservation measures on the ballot this year.

"During the current pandemic we have seen that our parks and public lands are more important than ever for people to safely get outside for their physical and mental health," said Will Abberger, director of Conservation Finance at TPL. "The ballot measures approved by voters will provide more equitable access to parks, protect air and water quality, help address climate change, and protect critical wildlife habitat in communities across the country."

Since 1996, TPL and its Public Land Action Fund have helped state and local communities generate more than $80 billion in voter-approved public funds for land protection for parks and acquisition of land to protect wildlife habitat, farmland, drinking water supplies and natural areas. This year voters of all political persuasions approved 100% of the 26 ballot measures supported by TPL and the its Action Fund.

Some of the measures approved by voters on Election Day this year include:

  • In San Francisco, Proposition A passed to generate a $487.5 million bond, which includes $239 million dedicated to neighborhood parks projects and programs that support recreation and open spaces throughout the city.
  • In Adams County, Colo., Issue 1A was renewed, dedicating a quarter-cent sales tax for parks, trails and open space in one of Colorado's most populous and rapidly developing counties.
  • In Massachusetts, nine communities said yes to the Community Preservation Act, which allows communities to establish a local fund dedicated to open space, outdoor recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing.
  • In Michigan, voters in Traverse City and Garfield Township renewed a 20-year property tax that will assist with the purchase of 80 acres of forest and woodland, expanding public natural areas for passive recreational use.
  • In Rochester, Minn., voters chose to approve a $2 million-per-year property tax levy to improve park access for those with disabilities, improve park safety and quality, conserve trees and protect water quality and natural areas.
  • In Ottawa County, Ohio, voters established their park district's first dedicated funding source, which will be used to create hiking and biking trails, protect Lake Erie water quality, and fund other capital improvements, operations and maintenance.
  • In Portland, Ore., voters approved the Recreation and Parks Levy, which will generate $293 million through property taxes to restore investments in parks, natural areas and services, and will increase access to recreation opportunities for communities of color, refugees and immigrants, and families experiencing poverty.
  • Hays County, Texas, voters approved a $75 million open space bond that will fund land protection for recreational or open-space use, protect wildlife habitat and water quality, and protect natural resources by minimizing flood risks and improving flood safety.

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Study Highlights Parks & Rec's Role in Youth Sports - November 2020

Grants Available for Swim Lesson Providers - November 2020

Sports Medicine Experts to Address COVID-19 and Athlete Care - November 2020

Study Shows Americans Miss the Gym - November 2020

City Parks Alliance Launches Park Funding Hub - October 2020

Pool Safely's New PSA Focuses on Child Drowning Prevention - October 2020

U.S. Reps File Health & Fitness Recovery Act - October 2020

IHRSA Foundation, ACE Aim to Improve Exercise Inclusion for People With Intellectual Disability - October 2020

NRPA Survey: U.S. Adults Say Parks & Rec Is Essential - September 2020

Effective Date for Drain Cover Standard Delayed - September 2020

ACE Urges Governments to Open Parks & Public Spaces for In-Person Fitness - September 2020

CDC Study Examines Successful Overnight Camp Strategies from 2020 - September 2020

Before Pandemic, Fitness Was Hot, SFIA Report Says - August 2020

Data Reveals Racial Disparity in Park Access - August 2020

USA Swimming Waives Swim-a-Thon Fees Through 2021 - August 2020

ACE Urges Congress to Pass COVID-19 Youth Sports & Health Working Families Relief Act - August 2020

Nation's Pediatricians Offer Advice on Return to Youth Sports - August 2020

Congress Fully Funds LWCF With Passage of Great American Outdoors Act - July 2020

AOAP's Aquatics Professional Designation Certified by CMAHC - July 2020

Fitness Participation Up in U.S. - July 2020

KaBOOM! Taskforce Offers Guidance on Playground Reopening - July 2020

Congress Nears Full, Permanent Funding of LWCF - June 2020

More Cities Join Effort to Reimagine Public Spaces - June 2020

CPSC Finds Steady Rise in Fatal Child Drownings - June 2020

NFHS Offers Guidance on Restarting High School Athletics, Activities - June 2020

YMCA, American Camp Association Release Guide to Support Summer Camp Safety - June 2020

NRPA Report Benchmarks Parks & Recreation Agencies - May 2020

CDC Issues Guidance for Aquatic Venues During COVID-19 - May 2020

Fitness Industry Leaders Reach Out to Governors on Safely Reopening - May 2020

Ys Respond to COVID-19 With Food Distribution, Child Care Service - May 2020

NRPA Offers Guidance on Playgrounds During COVID-19 Pandemic - April 2020

$2 Million in Pool Safely Grants Available - April 2020

Health Club Membership Up in 2019, Says IHRSA - April 2020

NRPA Releases Resource for Creating Equity-Based System Master Plans - April 2020

3 Million More Americans Got Active in 2019, Says SFIA - March 2020

TPL Awards 10-Minute Walk Grants - March 2020

Revised VGBA Drain Cover Standard Approved - March 2020

NAYS Offers Free Training on Sudden Cardiac Arrest - March 2020

New CDC Initiative Aims to Boost Activity for Americans - March 2020

NRPA Launches Mentoring in Parks and Rec - February 2020

AOAP Recommends MAHC Adoption - February 2020

ACE Examines Effectiveness of REHIT - February 2020

RTC Shares Progress Toward Completing Great American Rail-Trail - February 2020

18 Cities Earn Grants for Parks - January 2020

USA Swimming Recognizes Top Swimming Clubs - January 2020

Study Finds One-Third of U.S. High Schools Have No Access to Athletic Trainers - January 2020

Philadelphia Kids to Get More Play Options - January 2020

People's Choice Awards Honors Whirligig Park in North Carolina - December 2019

NSF International Adds New Standards for Interactive Water Play - December 2019

ACSM: Wearable Tech, HIIT Are Top Fitness Trends for 2020 - December 2019

TPL Looks to Schoolyards to Improve Park Access - December 2019

Meet Me at the Park Grant Program Reaches More than a Million Kids - November 2019

PHTA Recognizes Achievements in Aquatics - November 2019

Know the Dangers of Unauthorized Entry - November 2019

Survey Says: Americans Love Their Parks - November 2019