November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 28

ADVOCACY

The Saylor Grove wetland in Philadelphia's
Fairmount Park treats an estimated 70 million
gallons of stormwater per year.

New Infrastructure Bill Offers Possibilities
The Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act may provide green assistance
By Kevin O'Hara

F

airmount Park is a leafy oasis in the middle of sprawling metropolitan Philadelphia. Philadelphians of all stripes seek out its tree-lined paths and open
areas to exercise, picnic or watch the world go by. But Fairmount Park is
also a critical piece of municipal infrastructure soaking up millions of gallons of
stormwater each year, relieving the city's overtaxed stormwater system and reducing combined sewer overflows into the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers (visit www.
parksandrecreation.org/2013/July/Greener-Parks-for-Cleaner-Waters for more
information on Philadelphia parks' role in the city's stormwater management system). Fairmount Park is an example of green infrastructure, and green infrastructure is having huge impact in how cities not only manage polluted stormwater runoff, but also create vibrant, sustainable infrastructure on every block.
Green infrastructure has the potential to help communities reshape their
growth and development, including
reinvigorating distressed neighborhoods. In cities and towns across the
country, parks, schoolyards, leafy
green " complete streets " and green
roofs not only manage stormwater,

26

Parks & Recreation

but also clean the air, cool our neighborhoods, increase property values
and catalyze development. In cities
across the country, innovative city
leaders, designers and community
members are banding together to integrate green infrastructure and growth
into the fabric of their neighborhoods.

| N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 3 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

Legislation soon to be introduced in
the U.S. House and Senate has the potential to help arm park and recreation
agencies with information and resources on how to best utilize your green infrastructure networks to help manage
your community's stormwater runoff.
This fall, Rep. Donna Edwards (DMd.) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
are working to introduce the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act.
This bill will help provide communities and park and recreation
leaders with the data and best practices to help evaluate how green infrastructure techniques may apply in
their contexts. If approved, the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure
Act will provide grants to communities to implement green infrastruc-



November 2013 - Parks & Recreation

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