Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Passes Norton Bill for Improvements to Franklin Park and Other NPS-Owned D.C. Neighborhood Parks
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), today passed Norton’s bill (H.R. 2897) that clarifies that the District of Columbia and the National Park Service (NPS) have the authority to enter into cooperative management agreements to maintain and operate NPS properties in the District, such as Franklin Park. Murkowski introduced the Senate companion bill (S. 1956). H.R. 2897 passed the House in January.
The rehabilitation of Franklin Park would be funded through a public-private partnership between NPS, the D.C. government and the Downtown Business Improvement District. Under current federal law, NPS has the authority to enter into such agreements with states and cities, and the Norton-Murkowski bill makes clear that D.C. is included under this authority.
“I thank my good friend Senator Murkowski for her leadership in introducing the Senate companion bill and shepherding our bill through her committee,” Norton said. “This bill should be particularly welcomed by the federal government because it permits the rehabilitation of a major NPS-owned park in downtown D.C., without federal funds. NPS is responsible for parks in every state, some of them vast and immensely underfunded. Our bill will not only help us improve Franklin Park, but ensures D.C. can work with NPS to maintain and improve the many other NPS-owned parks here in the District. NPS owns nearly all D.C. neighborhood parks. This bill therefore has major significance not only for D.C. neighborhoods, but also parks like Dupont Circle—which accommodates visitors and bolsters D.C.’s tourist economy. The strong bipartisan support for our legislation will help us get it through the full Senate.”