Fellow Supporters of Milwaukee County-
Things are really starting to move in regarding the much needed dedicated funding for our transit system and our parks system.
The state legislature is poised to consider two very important bills.
One is SB-511, which is the bill that would allow Milwaukee County to pass the half-cent sales tax for the transit system as the prelude to the RTA.
On January 19, Governor Doyle was joined by many of the area’s business leaders, each of whom pointed out that a sustainable, and even extended transit system would be good for not only their businesses, but for the entire regional economy. Without a doubt, the fact that our transit system, which has been cut by some 20% over the last few years, has contributed to the fact that the Milwaukee area lost nearly 50,000 jobs in the last year, as well as why we are lagging in our economic recovery.
No less important, even though it is receiving less attention, is AB-504, which would provide the vehicle for getting dedicated funding for our parks system. And as has been proven in New York City, parks are also vital for a thriving economy:
Such cuts could turn out to actually cost the city money. Fine parks contribute to the economy by increasing property values and, as a result, real estate tax receipts. A 2008 analysis found that the completion of the Greenwich Village section of the Hudson River Park raised real estate prices in the adjacent two blocks by 20 percent.
Parks also attract tourists and residents who come to events and activities or who just want to enjoy the surroundings, generating economic activity inside and near the park. Central Park attracts more than 25 million visitors a year, about one fifth of whom come from outside the city, according to “The Central Park Effect,” which was prepared by the economic analysis firm Appleseed for the Central Park Conservancy. The study determined that in 2007, spending by visitors and enterprises in the city’s most famous park directly and indirectly accounted for $395 million in economic activity. This activity, as well as increases in property values near the park, generated $656 million in revenues for the city in 2007.
“Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System,” released in April by the Center for City Park Excellence at The Trust for Public Land, analyzed seven ways that city parks provide economic benefits: property values, tourism, direct use, health, community cohesion, clean water and clean air. Starting with conservative assumptions of park use and other variables, researchers calculated dollar values for each of these benefits in a different city.
Even though supporters of Milwaukee County like yourself, as well as the other like minded groups, such as the Park People and the Coalition for the Advancement of Transit, have made many calls and sent many emails in support of these two bills, I have learned that there are some legislators that state they have hardly heard a peep in support of these two vital bills. This is especially true for the leggies that represent the suburban areas.
Please take a few minutes now to call and/or email your state representative and state senator and call on them to support this bill. Everyone needs to do this, but especially those that live in the suburbs.
If you don’t know who your representative or senator is, you can find out by clicking on this link.
We thank you in advance for supporting our community by making these important calls.Cross posted at Milwaukee County First and other places.