NFL Star Eddie George Briefs Congress on Creating Healthy Communities

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Former NFL star and landscape architect, Eddie George, ASLA, participated in a Capitol Hill briefing on April 20, 2010, calling on Congress to pass legislation designed to combat obesity, create jobs, reduce crime, and revitalize communities by investing in urban parks and community centers.

Called the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act (H.R. 3734), the legislation would provide grants to help communities build or revitalize more than 2,300 parks and recreation centers every year. George, along with Susan Watcher of the Wharton School of Econometrics, Joe Hughes of Georgia Institute of Technology, and Salin Geevarghese of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, made the case why investment in parks spurs economic growth, helps combat childhood obesity, and offers a myriad of environmental benefits.

“Parks not only create jobs, attract businesses, and raise property values, but positively affect the lives of residents directly where the live and work every day,” said George. “Perhaps most pressing is how parks offer safe, accessible places for children to exercise. Despite the rise in childhood obesity, we have no legislation that solely focuses on creating public space for physical activity.”

Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics support the use of the built environment to combat obesity. The bill itself has support from 30 organizations in the Urban Parks Coalition and 114 House of Representative sponsors.

The April 20 briefing was sponsored by the Congressional Urban Caucus’ Urban Parks Task Force, chaired by Congressman Chaka Fattah and co-chaired by Congressman Mike Turner. Bill H.R. 3734, the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, is authored by Congressman Albio Sires.

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