The Latest: Lawmaker considers deadline for $1B parks plan




SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on $400 million promised for California parks that remain unbuilt years later (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

A California lawmaker says he is considering adding a deadline for building parks to his $1 billion funding proposal after an Associated Press review found only half the projects approved in 2006 have been completed.

Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia says he is open to including a seven-year deadline for agencies to finish the parks after they receive the funding. Agencies were given the same deadline to build 126 parks after voters approved $400 million for them in 2006.

However, it took as long as six years for some agencies to receive the funding.

The Coachella Democrat said Tuesday he is comfortable pursuing a massive investment in the existing program.

Republican Sen. Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel says stricter timelines are crucial to correct the delays.

Bates sits on a fiscal panel that will consider Garcia's proposal Thursday.

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12:15 p.m.

A decade after California voters were promised $400 million worth of parks in some of the state's poorest neighborhoods, fewer than half of the 126 parks that received the money have been built.

As lawmakers push to add another $1 billion to the program, an Associated Press review of data provided by the California Natural Resources Agency finds people are still waiting for more than half of the original parks.

Fifty-four percent of California voters in 2006 approved a $5.4 billion bond that, among other projects, funded new or improved local parks.

Based on guidelines that prioritized the neediest communities, the state parks department chose 126 parks and recreation center projects and awarded them $396 million.

Officials say spending that money has stalled amid bureaucratic hoops and generous completion deadlines — a slow procedure intended to facilitate oversight.

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This story has been corrected to show the number of completed parks is at least 59, based on updated information.
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