San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership on the Proposed National Recreation Area
The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership has issued a Statement of Principles outlining the Partnership’s key concerns about the proposed San Gabriel Valley National Recreation Area. While the Partnership supports the recreation area in concept, there are many details that must be clarified and resolved about how this new designation would affect local businesses and communities.
“A National Recreation Area has the potential to be a tremendous resource for the Valley if it’s set up right,” said Cynthia Kurtz, President and CEO of the Partnership. “It could provide funding for new parks, help us maintain or upgrade existing parks, and develop new recreation facilities. But a lot of questions remain about its boundaries, who exactly is going to run it, and how it would affect the rights of businesses, cities, and water agencies.”
The Partnership’s Legislative Action Committee unanimously approved the Statement of Principles at their monthly meeting yesterday. The Committee members represent businesses, chambers of commerce, city governments, water, transit and other public agencies, and non-profit organizations. The Committee studies critical policy issues facing the region and takes political positions on behalf of the Partnership.
The Statement details the Partnership’s primary concerns with the National Recreation Area, among which is land acquisition by the National Parks Service. While the Parks Service may acquire land by purchase, exchange or donation, the Partnership believes the agency should recompense cities for the loss of potential tax revenues that that property could have generated. The Statement also requests that the recreation area boundaries be finalized when the draft legislation is released to the public, that full access for fire fighters and water maintenance crews to the San Gabriel Mountains be assured, and that local elected officials be appointed to manage the recreation area. The National Recreation Area can only be created by an act of Congress. Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) is currently writing the enabling legislation.
“Congresswoman Judy Chu and her staff have been extremely responsive on this issue,” Kurtz said. “They’re listening and taking these concerns very seriously. This is going to be a complex piece of legislation.”