Requested funding for parks and greenways over the next 5 years has been cut dramatically. You can make a change.
(📷: Shannon Binns)
Funding for many parks, greenways, and recreation centers is threatened and we need your help today!
Early this year, we asked you to join us in urging Mecklenburg County leaders to budget enough funds in their new five-year capital plan to build at least 50 new miles of greenways and fully fund the equity reinvestment projects (deferred maintenance projects in previously underinvested areas).
Based on the priorities and goals of the county-adopted Meck Playbook and Greenway Master Plan, which represent community-identified needs, Park & Rec staff requested funding to complete 85 projects. However, the county executive team has recommended providing less than half of this critical funding. Notably, all other county departments are slated to receive more than half of their request.
This means only 37 of the 85 projects would be completed in the next five years. Park & Rec staff’s request included funding for 22 priority equity reinvestment projects. However, only 9 of these projects were recommended for funding by the county executive team.
Reduced funding has major impacts
If this stands, 56% of these critical projects would not be completed in the next five years, including one rec center and seven park projects. Park & Rec staff’s request also included funding for 30 new greenway projects that would add 60 new miles to our greenway network. This is consistent with the need for at least 10 new miles of greenways each year to reach adopted County goals.
However, the county executive team only recommended 11 greenway projects that would add just 18 new miles to the network. This is an average of fewer than four miles per year. Based on community surveys conducted by Mecklenburg County, greenways are the most desired Park & Rec amenity.
If we fall behind on the goal of building 10 new miles of greenways per year, we will fall further behind in meeting our community’s stated needs. We also will remain behind our peer communities, who are building greenways at faster rates.
And we will miss out on the tremendous economic benefits that greenways provide. For example, a study found that the Four-Mile Creek Greenway delivers an ROI of $8 for every $1 invested. But it’s not too late. We still have time to shape how many park, greenway, and rec center projects get completed over the next five years – if we act together now.
You can help our parks and greenways
Make your voice heard by attending the next Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners budget public hearing on Thursday, May 25, at 6 pm. The Board invites public comments during the Public Appearance segment in their meeting agenda. During this time, individuals are welcome to make their voice heard by addressing the Board on items that are, or are not, on the agenda. Where budget meetings are concerned, this includes the topic of greenway and park project funding. Individuals will be given three minutes or less to speak.
We thank you in advance for speaking up to restore the critical funding of our parks, greenways, and recreation centers. Thank you.
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