Pa. Senate’s consideration of ‘parks for cash bill’ angers Philly conservationists

The state Senate Appropriations Committee will today review House Bill 2224, which conservation advocates are calling the “parks for cash bill.”

The Philadelphia Parks Alliance today sent a release urging senators to amend the legislation, whose “obscure content” they say they were not aware of when it passed the state House this past spring. “Parks and open space are essential to safe neighborhoods, sustainable communities, a vibrant city and a growing tax base,” director Lauren Bornfriend said in a statement. “House Bill 2224 removes the protections we need to preserve these precious resources.”

The legislation, according to the organization, would remove court oversight of the sale of some dedicated or donated parkland, put acres of public land, including some historic structures, at risk for quick sale in cash-strapped cities and may discourage landowners from donating land for public purposes in the future.

“This bill puts well-loved public land at risk of being sold for quick and easy cash,” Pennsylvania Land Trust Association Director Andrew Loza said in a statement. “It tosses out longstanding rules that ensure government cannot sell parks and other greenspaces if the lands provide a public benefit.”

The bill will likely go to the full Senate for review later this week.

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