TURN URBAN LOTS INTO BEAUTIFUL PARKS!
Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) re-introduced the Revitalizing Cities Through Parks Enhancement Act (RECIPE). This Bill establishes a $10 million grant program which helps non-profit community groups obtain leases for vacant, municipally-owned lots. This program also provides funding to help them transform these lots into small community gardens and parks.
"Neighborhoods in Manhattan and Queens, and many urban communities around the country, are in dire need of a safe, green community space where children and citizens alike can gather and play," Maloney said today. "Most cities do not have the space nor the resources to create safe community parks. Instead, we have vacant, municipally-owned lots which often become drug trafficking areas, and decrease the value of surrounding property and lead to higher crime rates in our neighborhoods.
"These vacant lots can be transformed into gardens and parks which beautify the neighborhoods, increase property values, and provide safe clean areas for children to play. Open spaces and community parks are a critical part of urban infrastructure. This legislation has the power to turn our cities around. Introducing legislation that has the might to revolutionize our neighborhoods on behalf of New York's millions of children looking for safe places to play is the best part of my job in Washington."
Qualified community organizations will receive grants for the establishment of community open space in urban areas from the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Grants made under this Act to any single qualified community organization in any one fiscal year may not exceed $250,000.
Only nonprofit community organizations which have histories of serving the community, maintain accountability to residents of the community through significant representation on the organizations governing board, are involved in activities to better the neighborhood, and comply with standards of financial accountability required by the Secretary are eligible for such grants.
In order to be eligible for these grants, municipal property which is located in an urban area must be free of structures, owned by the unit of general local government in which the property is located, and subject to a binding commitment that makes the property available for use and improvement under this Act as community open space for at least seven years.
These grants may be used for the establishment of community open space (including beautification, construction or installation of facilities for improvements for such property, clearance, demolition, removal, design and site improvements), to lease or otherwise obtain the use of eligible municipal real property for establishment of community open space, to maintain community open space, to cover other administrative costs related to the establishment, development, maintenance, administration, or management of the community open space, except that not more than 10 percent of any single grant made under this Act may be used for costs under these specific uses.