VOTERS APPROVED $2.8 BILLION FOR LOCAL PARKS AND NATURAL AREAS
The Trust for Public Land today announced that Americans once again voted overwhelmingly in support of land conservation and parks this Election Day. On Tuesday, voters created over $2.8 billion for the protection of water quality, new parks, natural areas, and working farms and ranches across 20 states, passing 84% of ballot measures, totaling over $7.2 billion in funding for conservation and parks in 2018.
“Whether red or blue, Americans come together in support of parks and natural areas.” said Will Abberger, Vice President of Conservation Finance for The Trust for Public Land, “We’re proud to work with partner organizations and communities across the country to help bring increased funding for these special outdoor places.”
Since 1996, The Trust for Public Land and The Trust for Public Land Action Fund have helped state and local communities across the country raise more than $74 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.
82% of the 561 ballot measures The Trust for Public Land and The Trust for Public Land Action Fund have supported were adopted with overwhelming voter approval since 1996.
On Tuesday, The Trust for Public Land and our Action Fund played a critical role in 17 state and local ballot measures for conservation and parks:
In an enormous and long-awaited win for conservation, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act passed with 83% voter approval. The new state constitutional amendment will dedicate a portion of the existing sales and use tax on outdoor sporting goods to land conservation and parks for ten years – without raising taxes. Funding from the Amendment will protect working forests, wildlife habitat, and land critical to clean drinking water. Funding will also be used to acquire and improve parks and trails in communities throughout the state.
Connecticut’s public parks and forests are a key driver in the state’s economy, attracting eight million visitors every year and generating over $1 billion in state revenue, while supporting nearly 70,000 outdoor recreation jobs. Voters overwhelmingly approved amending the Connecticut State Constitution with 85% support to protect state-owned farms, forests, parks, trails, and wildlife management areas from being converted, sold or given away without first receiving a public hearing and a two-thirds vote from the state legislature. Improving accountability and transparency in government and protecting community assets are critical to support the state’s economy and quality of life.
Voters in Tucson, Arizona decided to invest $225 million of dedicated funds to improve City parks amenities — including playgrounds, sports fields, pools, splash pads, and recreation centers — as well connections, such as pedestrian and bicycle pathways and improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. 54% support
Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County voters approved over $115 million to improve and protect Sonoma’s regional and neighborhood parks. Funding will be provided from a 10-year 1/8th cent sales tax increase for regional parks. 70% support.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles County voters approved over $300 million annually to provide local, dedicated funding to increase local water supply, improve water quality, and protect public health. The measure will improve and protect water quality; capture rain/stormwater to increase safe drinking water supplies and prepare for future drought; and protect public health and marine life by reducing pollution, trash, toxins/plastics entering Los Angeles County waterways, bays, and beaches.
Chaffee County, Colorado
Chaffee County voters approved a new ¼-cent sales tax, raising over $20 million to strengthen forest health to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires that threaten communities, water supplies and economy; conserve and support working ranches, farms and rural landscapes, protecting water quality, water quantity and wildlife habitat; help manage the impacts of growth and increased recreation to protect our trails, campsites and scenic rivers; and conserve fish and wildlife habitat, and protect it from damaging wildfire and post-fire flooding. 52% support
City and County of Denver, Colorado
Voters supported a dedicated sales and use tax at 0.25% for Denver’s parks, trails, and open space estimated to raise nearly $46 million in its first year alone. The parks, trails, and recreation opportunities in Denver improve the quality of life and are an important investment in our future. Denver’s population is soaring, with over 850,000 people expected to live in Denver within twenty years. This fund will allow Denver to plan better for growth in the future and preserve its high good quality of life. 61% support
City of Cape Coral, Florida
Cape Coral has a series of canals around the city, but relatively few parks and open spaces. Voters approved $60 million in general obligation bonds to enhance and improve their parks, natural areas, recreational and athletic facilities, trails, boat ramps, piers, swimming and fishing facilities, and create wildlife habitat and shoreline protection. 54% support
City of Doral, Florida
Voters approved $150 million in general obligations bonds to protect natural areas, and improve quality of life, by providing new trails, green spaces, sports fields, playgrounds, an aquatic facility, and cultural amenities. There will now be five miles of new walking trails throughout the community, as well as improvement the 82-acre Doral Central Park and several other existing parks. 53% support
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Heavy growth pressures from new development are creating deep concerns regarding water quality and overall quality of life. Voters supported a $15 million general obligation bond to conserve property currently slated for residential development that would be purchased and opened as a nature park. Protection of land along Turnbull Creek will protect water quality by preventing pollution in Turnbull Creek and Bay, Spruce Creek, the Indian River, and the Atlantic Ocean as well as preserve wildlife habitat and natural areas from development. 75% support
Sarasota County, Florida
The existing Legacy Trail runs over 10 miles from Venice, Florida to Culverhouse Nature Park south of Sarasota. Acquired by the Trust for Public Land and conveyed to the County in 2004, The Legacy Trail hosts over 220,000 visitors each year – for walking, biking, bird watching, fishing, and other activities. The Legacy Trail Extension will receive a $65 million voter-approved bond to connect the existing trail north to downtown Sarasota’s Payne Park, create pedestrian overpasses. 71% support
Massachusetts Community Preservation Act
Two CPA measures passed in Massachusetts. One in Plainville and the other in Berlin, generating $165,000 and $250,000 respectively every year for open space, recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing. CPA has now passed in 177 cities and towns across the state; comprising more than half of the communities and raising over $1.9 billion statewide in dedicated public funds for these purposes. 66 and 57% respectively
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
The City of Brooklyn Park’s population is booming—and residents just voted for more parks and better trails to keep pace by approving a $26 million bond to fund the park investments the city needs to stay green and healthy as it grows. The funds will protect land and water, improve large neighborhood parks and recreational facilities, develop the trail network, and build and maintain special use facilities for seniors and families. 63% support
Voters in Missoula County passed a $15 million bond that will build upon the work of a now-depleted 2006 bond; the City passed an annual $500,000 stewardship levy to protect land, water, and family farms for future generations. 59 and 58 % support respectively
Beaufort County, South Carolina
Voters again renewed their strong support for the Beaufort County Rural and Critical Lands program that has since 1998 completed 112 land protection projects, preserving over 23,900 acres of land for conservation, parks, buffers, and scenic vistas. Beaufort County voters again extended that funding with a $25 million bond to protect clean water, beaches, creeks and rivers, wildlife habitat, and coasts. 70% support
One measure in Fresno, California that would have raised $1.1 billion over 30 years received 52% support, but a supermajority is required so it did not pass.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
About The Trust for Public Land Action Fund
The Trust for Public Land Action Fund creates, renews and protects public funding for land and water conservation through ballot measures and legislative action. Founded in 2000 as the 501(c)(4) affiliate of The Trust for Public Land, The Action Fund is the only nationwide organization focusing solely on political action for conservation funding. Visit www.tplactionfund.org
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