Washington Realtors support increased funding for parks, recreation, and habitat lands
STATEWIDE – The Washington Association of Realtors has announced support for doubling state funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP), which provides grants to create parks and protect wildlife habitat and farmland. The Washington Realtors, the state’s largest professional organization, works to support public policy that enhances the quality of life in Washington communities.
(Wa Realtors and WWRC PDF 485 kb)
If Gov. Christine Gregoire and the state Legislature approve the increase, WWRP funding would rise to $100 million for the 2007-09 biennium. It’s an investment in the habitat, farmlands, and parks that benefit all Washington residents, according to J. Lennox Scott, Chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate and a member of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition’s Board of Directors. The coalition, chaired by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry, is an advocacy organization made up of over 130 varied organizations and businesses that work to ensure the WWRP receives adequate support to develop local, regional and state recreation and wildlife areas.
“This makes good fiscal sense, because WWRP’s funding hasn’t increased since 1990, and current grant applications are almost triple the existing level of funding,” said Scott. “It also makes good sense for our communities, because Washington’s spectacular natural beauty and pristine natural resources are at the core of what makes this state a great place to live.”
Realtors’ top public policy priority is building communities that have a strong economy, attractive housing choices, great schools and parks, safe neighborhoods, and good transportation choices. “By working with local communities to buy local land, Realtors and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition leverage funds for local improvements like softball fields, forested parks, new swimming pools and urban hiking trails,” says Washington Realtor President Terry Sullivan. “In addition, these parks, green spaces and community amenities sustain and support property values.”
The 25,000-member Washington Realtors represents approximately 170,000 homebuyers each year, and the interests of more than 2 million homeowners throughout the state. Realtors live where they work and, like their neighbors, are concerned about the quality of life in their communities.
The WWRP is a state grant program that helps local communities create new parks, protect wildlife habitat, and conserve farmland and shorelines. Since 1990, the WWRP has provided more than $450 million for about 750 neighborhood parks, ball fields, trails, beaches, wildlife habitat areas, and state parks. By requiring that local projects provide a financial match, WWRP grants leverage funding from cities, counties and park districts, as well as private and philanthropic funding sources.