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Community Health, Parks and Recreation for All: Reform Quimby Park Funding Statewide

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The City Project's Assistant Director and Counsel Ramya Sivasubramanian testified before the California Assembly Committee on Local Government to promote community health, parks and recreation for all through reform of Quimby park funding on May 8, 2013 (AB 1359 - Hernandez). KCET's SoCal Connected will also air the news story "Quimby and The Laws That Govern L.A. Parks" on Friday, May 10, at 9:30 p.m.

Low-income people and people of color disproportionately lack equal access to green space throughout California. This has profound impacts on health and quality of life.

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The City Project's policy report Healthy Parks, Schools and Communities: Green Access and Equity for Southern California documents that children of color living in poverty with no access to a car suffer first and worst in access to green space, active living, and health.

The parks and health reform bill, which passed out of committee after the hearing, would provide cities and counties with the flexibility they need to invest park development fees in park-poor areas -- defined as areas with less than three acres of parks per thousand residents. The bill would also authorize the use of Quimby fees to promote joint use of parks, schools, and pools to improve park access for all.

The bill provides that "[t]he amount and location of land to be dedicated or the fees to be paid shall bear a reasonable relationship to the use of the park and recreational facilities by the future inhabitants of the subdivision." This language is consistent with the reasoning of the California Supreme Court. The Court has recognized that park development fees may reasonably be used to buy or develop park land some distance from the residential project that generates the fees where the land is also available for use by residents of the project. See Associated Home Builders v. City of Walnut Creek.

Parks can serve people from the city or county as a whole. A regional park, for example, or a large park with sports fields, can draw people from the city or county and from park-poor, densely populated areas, compared to a pocket park. This can take pressure off of existing parks in an area that has disproportionately more park space, fewer people, or both.

Click here to read the letter from diverse allies in support of the bill. The diverse and growing alliance includes members of the Acjachemen Nation, Anahuak Youth Sports Association, the Asian and Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, California Wilderness Coalition, The City Project, Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles, and Retired California State Parks Superintendent Jack Shu.

Learn more about park funding reform by tuning in to SoCal Connected's news story "Quimby and The Laws That Govern L.A. Parks" on KCET TV on Friday, May 10, at 9:30 p.m. "Ever wonder why there aren't more parks in your L.A. neighborhood? It's not a lack of money. There are millions of dollars just sitting there ready to be spent, but a little known law seems to be slowing down its spending and slowing down the greening of L.A." The show includes an interview with Robert Garcia from The City Project and KCET Departure's Green Justice.

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