***Note: this bill has been substituted, this analysis may no longer be valid***
People can say a lot of things about Utah (and, indeed they do), but one thing just about everyone can agree upon is that the state boasts amazing natural landscapes that should be admired for generations to come.
Though we as a state rightfully point to our national parks and monuments as points of pride, we often forget that there are several wonders in our own backyard.
Representative Patrice Arent (Democrat – Millcreek) is looking to remind us of our small wonders with HB 52 – Office of Outdoor Recreation Amendments.
[pullquote]Our state boasts many natural wonders and Representative Patrice Arent is hoping to draw attention to local wonders while improving both communities and the business climate with HB 52[/pullquote]Currently, within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, there exists a director of outdoor recreation. Currently the director and their office coordinates with outdoor recreation stakeholders, look to improve recreational opportunities and recruits recreational businesses to come to the state.
Though these goals are all well and good, Arent is looking to give the office some additional teeth.
HB 52 adds an all important element to any government office: money.
First and foremost, Arent is looking to set aside $5 million in one-time funds to build, maintain, and promote recreational areas throughout the state. Furthermore, the funds would be used to entice businesses to move to the state using an outdoor focus. Finally, Arent wants some of the funds to be used specifically to help those in underserved and underprivileged communities access the outdoors.
The second major component of Arent’s bill is to give the office the all-important ability to apply for federal grants in an attempt to further these above-mentioned goals. By seeking out federal funds, it is no doubt hoped that the office will be able to grow beyond the initial investment and provide the state with new and modern recreation locations for years to come.
Though $5 million may appear a little steep, one should consider the long-term benefits of Arent’s proposal. A beefed up Office of Outdoor Recreation creates some unique opportunities for the state. Not only will we be providing fantastic recreational resources to the citizens of the state – improving their health and wellbeing in the process, but we will also be actively pursuing new businesses to grow and/or relocate to our state. Arent’s investment easily holds the potential to pay itself back ten-fold, and would be a wise move for our state’s future.
To contact Representative Arent, click here or call 801-272-1956 (Home).
|Impact on Average Utahn||0-1-2-3-4-5|
|Need for Legislation||0-1-2-3-4-5|