California Urban Parks and Healthy Communities Act

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California has many formal acts in law. Division 5 of the Public Resources Code, Chapter 1.55, provides the Urban State Parks and Healthy Communities Act, found in Sections 5095 through 5095.6. Chapter 1.55 was added in 2001 by Chapter 877. Section 5095 names the law.

Section 5095.1 contains eleven legislative findings and declarations, including that parks and recreation provide opportunities to build strong communities and promote ethnic and cultural harmony.

Section 5095.2 provides definitions for the following terms: “for active recreational purposes”; “department”; “director”; “ease”; “funds”; “non-urbanised local agency”; “special district”; “state agency”; and “urbanized or highly urbanized local bodies”.

Section 5095.3 creates, within the Treasury, the National Fund for Urban Parks and Healthy Communities. The department shall expend funds from this fund, upon appropriation by the legislature, to provide grants to state agencies, including state reserves existing on January 1, 2002, urbanized or heavily urbanized local agencies, and community organizations . The funds necessary for the administration of this chapter must be allocated in the annual budget law.

Section 5095.4 requires the director to develop, in consultation with the state Department of Education, a competitive grant program to assist state parks, state reservations existing on January 1, 2003, state agencies urbanized and highly urbanized local and community organizations within those jurisdictions, working collaboratively, to provide outdoor educational opportunities for children.

In addition, the department is required to make available one-third of all funds appropriated for the purposes of this chapter to place particular priority on providing increased access to elementary school-aged children in grades 2 through 8. , inclusive, to conservation or state, community, and regional park properties and shall give priority, when making a grant under this section, to all specified entities.

The amount of a grant awarded under this section may not be less than $20,000 nor greater than $200,000. A grant may be spent for any of the specified purposes. In addition, the department may collect information from applicants as to the effectiveness of these programs in achieving program objectives.

Applicant agencies may contract with other agencies or public entities to provide unique interpretive skills or to present authentic programs based on programs in units of conservation properties or national, community or regional park systems for services not otherwise provided. The purpose of this subsection is to authorize applicants to provide programming services, equipment and materials that contribute to the curriculum or provide educational activities that contribute to the presentation of cultural traditions.

Section 5095.5 requires the Department to allocate two-thirds of all funds appropriated for the purposes of this chapter to provide grants to urbanized or heavily urbanized local agencies or community organizations within such jurisdictions for the acquisition and development of properties for active recreational purposes. In addition, eligible projects must meet specified criteria.

A grant received under this section may be spent to acquire title or other interest in real property. If an application proposes to acquire less than one title, the applicant must demonstrate in the application, to the satisfaction of the ministry, that the proposed project will provide public benefits that are commensurate with the type and duration of the interest in the property to be acquired.

Each applicant for a grant under this section and the entity that will operate and maintain the property, if different from the applicant, must agree to comply with all specified requirements.

Section 5095.6 requires that this chapter be implemented only after sufficient funds have been allocated to the department for this purpose.

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