Federal grant a great investment

Regarding the June 5 article, “Park and fishing pier join scramble for public funding”: Our unmatched quality of life and easily accessible parks make northwest Washington a place people want to live, work and play, and improvements to Haller Park in Arlington are due to increase that.

Easily accessible outdoor recreation is an investment in our community. Parks give our kids a safe place to play, create opportunities to get people out of their cars and increase foot traffic in local businesses. Parks also increase property values, protecting families’ investments and supporting local school districts. For home owners, renters, and Realtors such as myself, it is a quality of life issue.

Funding from a little known federal grant program is essential to fully realize the community’s vision for Haller Park. The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped create and develop outdoor recreation opportunities for nearly 50 years. Importantly, it is funded through a small percentage of offshore oil and gas lease royalties, not taxpayer dollars.

Despite having a dedicated funding source, the LWCF has been chronically underfunded, and is set to sunset in 2015 unless Congress acts to save it.

Thankfully, Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have cosponsored a bill to fully fund and re-authorize LWCF. I hope our leaders in Congress will continue to invest in our community’s future by supporting our parks.

Jon Soine

Bellingham

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