WRPA Sends Out Recovery Plan Proposal & RCO Match-Reduction Proposal

WRPA & Other Western Associations Are Advocating for Park & Rec Safety During COVID

A Message from WRPA's Lobbyist Doug Levy

On April 23, 2020, WRPA sent out a proposal outlining a framework on how public parks and recreation service providers can serve a vital role in assisting you to safely return Washingtonians to public life. On Tuesday, May 21, 2020, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board (RCFB) voted unanimously to support an RCO staff proposal to reduce the local match requirements during the COVID-19 period. Read more below

WRPA Recovery Framework Proposal:

Discussed with multiple neighboring states (CA, OR, Idaho)

On Wednesday, April 22, 2020, some of the individual-agency leads and WRPA convened a pretty remarkable multi-state Zoom meeting with parks and recreation association leadership from the states of California, Oregon, and Idaho—all of whom applauded this framework as something they would like to use, build off of, and tailor to these states.

You will see the document below does a very thorough job of building the case and rationale for why and how parks and recreation can play a leading role in helping the state reopen activities and economic sectors—and the types of commitments our professional directors and managers are prepared to make. The document says “WRPA” on it, but in reality, a few key individual-agency park directors deserve an enormous chunk of the credit for it. I want to give particular shout-outs to Pete Mayer of Metro Parks Tacoma, Roxanne Miles of Pierce County, Mary Dodsworth of Lakewood, and Paul Simmons of Olympia for this document (and several others were instrumental as well).  The final version of it, and a signed cover letter, went to the Governor’s Office today. To give you a sense of the volume of work involved, I believe there were nine drafts before this one was stamped ‘final’!

WRPA Recovery Framework:
Letter & Plan

Recreation & Conservation Office (RCO) Match-Reduction Proposal:

On Tuesday, May 21, 2020, the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board (RCFB), which is the RCO’s policy-making body and the final stop on program funding approvals, voted unanimously to support an RCO staff proposal that reduces the local match requirement during this COVID-19 pandemic period we’re in – from 50 percent to 25 percent. This is for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), Youth Athletic Facilities (YAF), and Aquatic Lands Enhancement Act (ALEA) programs that RCO has authority to make administrative revisions to. WRPA Legislative Chair Roxanne Miles, North Bend senior planner Mike McCarty, Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition Exec. Dir. Christine Mahler, and I spoke in general support – with Mike McCarty as a small-city speaker offering particularly strong support.

RCO Match Reduction
Policy & Guide

Upcoming Stimulus Package – RCO’s Lists

While the governmental responses to COVID-19 to date have been heavily focused on immediate relief and help to displaced workers, businesses, and economic sectors, a future question will be what the state and federal governments will do to spur economic recovery. During Tuesday’s meeting (RCO Executive Director Kaleen Cottingham), and during a Wednesday conference call I participated in with Governor Inslee, the notion of an infrastructure investment “stimulus” package was discussed. The Governor has one of his three Governor’s “Leadership Groups” assessing this idea, and the Senate Democrats have a Work Group dedicated to infrastructure and economic stimulus/recovery.  All of you should bear in mind that, should the 2021 Legislature look to build a “stimulus” package, RCO and its assembly of grant applications could well be utilized as a convenient set of “shovel-ready” project lists for parks and rec.  I suggest all of you take that into account as you submit your requests for WWRP, ALEA, YAF, and other grant programs.

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