Local governments repurpose federally funded parks?
Forty-eight years after Congress and President John F. Kennedy promised parks to the public, the budget-battered National Park Service program that awarded $3.9 billion-plus to state and local governments to buy or improve those parks has routinely allowed the land to be converted to other uses. Frequently, critics contend, these transactions violate federal law and regulations requiring that federally funded recreational acreage be replaced by lands of equal value.
But one park became a Las Vegas hotel. Another was almost turned into a beachfront McDonald’s. Another is being converted into an upscale private resort in Oklahoma. And in New York City, the National Park Service allowed the New York Yankees, the nation’s richest baseball franchise, to build a parking garage atop public ball fields that needy kids at the local schools didn’t see replaced for six years.
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