The Pennsylvania Senate is poised to vote on a bill that, depending on how the land was acquired, will allow county and local governments to sell local parks for easy cash. A vote on the bill could take place the week of October 1. If the bill passes, it goes to Governor Corbett for his signature.
House Bill 2224 puts much-loved parks at risk of being sold for short-term gain or on a political whim. It repeals longstanding rules that ensure government cannot sell parks and other greenspaces if the lands benefit the public.
Please tell your Senator to amend HB 2224 to protect our parks. Contact them at their district office THIS WEEK.
In addition to putting our parks and greenspaces at risk, the bill:
- Violates the trust and good faith of landowners who donated property for a dollar or sold property to the government at a bargain price with assurances that the land would be used for a public purpose.
- Forces generous people to second guess whether to sell their land at a bargain price for a good cause — a new park — because it shows that government is not to be trusted with such gifts.
- Discards the fair and balanced process traditionally used to determine whether public land can be sold.
Legislation that assists municipalities in achieving the reuse of abandoned, blighted, unused and unusable properties in municipal ownership is welcome, but such legislation should not put the parks and greenspaces – places that people have trusted would always be there — at risk of being sold for short sighted gain or political purposes.