Jun 26

Governments spending to buy, preserve open spaces.

USA Today (5/28, Cauchon) reports, “Federal, state, and local governments are boosting spending on open spaces and parks” in a “surprising development” that may “usher in an era of land conservation not seen in decades.” The movement to preserve open space apparently finds “favor among Republicans, Democrats, and voters.” USA Today notes that “new open-space spending from last week alone” included $1 billion in federal money “to buy easements to prevent farms and ranches from being developed,” $20 million for “the first major new state park in three decades” in Minnesota, and $300 million per year for 10 years to extend Florida Forever, “the biggest open space program in the nation.” Phoenix also will have “a 30-year sales tax” approved by voters “that could generate about $100 million over 10 years to buy land.” USA Today concludes that the “influx of cash is letting governments acquire land at bargain prices.” In Naperville, Ill., the president of the Conservation Foundation said the “timing could not have been more perfect. Our pockets are full of cash, and there’s little competition for land.”