Since funding for historic preservation is always a hot topic, I thought I would share what we're hoping happens in Arizona this legislative session. If there are any residents of the Grand Canyon State on this thread, please review and consider taking action. Thank you.Jim McPhersonVice President, Arizona Heritage Alliance (the lead non-profit on this effort)President, Arizona Preservation Foundation (always supportive of the Arizona Heritage Alliance above!)4 bills introduced to fund Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund
Good news! Four bills, yes four!, have been introduced to fund the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund. One bill, House Bill 2127, will be heard before the House of Representatives Land, Agriculture & Rural Affairs (LARA) Committee on Monday, February 1, 2021 at 2 p.m. in House Hearing Room 3.
The main difference between the four bills is the proposed funding source, either from the General Fund or the Arizona Lottery (the latter being the original source of State Parks Heritage Funds from 1991 to 2008 and will be the source once again starting in 2029).
$10M FROM THE GENERAL FUND
$10M FROM THE ARIZONA LOTTERY
WHAT YOU CAN DO
You can voice your opinion on this legislation in a couple of ways: Legislature's Request to Speak (RTS) system (if a bill is on a committee agenda), the My Bill Positions function (if a bill isn't on a committee agenda), or direct contact with House LARA Committee members (see below). If you don't have an RTS system account, click here for detailed instructions.
Thanks to the Arizona Heritage Alliance, here are some resources for you to review on this matter:
Updated news and information will be uploaded on the Alliance's website in-between communications to you from the Arizona Preservation Foundation.
We welcome hearing from you about how the Heritage Fund has benefitted your community and if there is a project in your community that could benefit from Heritage Fund support in the future. Send a note here!
BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund grants, from the time Arizona citizens voted overwhelmingly for this unique initiative in 1990 to the Great Recession, provided key funding through a competitive, matching grant process, for communities, tribes, and agencies to enhance and create parks and trails, and restore, repair, and reuse historic properties.
The importance of Arizona's local, regional, and state parks; trails; and open spaces has also become more evident as we work to overcome the social and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our public parks and open spaces provide Arizonans the space for socially distanced recreation and respite during these challenging times. In a recent study conducted by the National Parks and Recreation Association, three in five U.S. residents – more than 190 million people – visited a park, trail, public open space, or other recreation facility at least once during the first three months of the pandemic (mid-March through mid-June 2020). Increased usage and foot traffic warrants increased maintenance and upkeep to meet the demand.
This demand has demonstrated that investing in our trails, parks, open spaces, and historic sites – which contribute billions of dollars each year to the state's economy – is key to the economic recovery of our urban and rural economies. It is therefore imperative that we look toward a funding mechanism such as the Heritage Fund to invest in the physical, social, and civic structures that many of our communities, especially in rural and tribal areas, depend upon for generating tourism-related economic activities that in turn create jobs and support local business.
Not only do they protect and preserve Arizona's heritage, but as the past year has shown that they have been critical to our state's response to the pandemic. Our outdoor recreation and tourism-based jobs and businesses they support will be key to stimulate Arizona's economy and aid our economic recovery.
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