(The Center Square) – Ohio could receive millions of dollars in federal funding to tackle maintenance at national parks in the state.
Last week, President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. The legislation includes the Restore Our Parks Act, which U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, sponsored, a measure that allocates roughly $10 billion to address a backlog of maintenance projects at national parks nationwide.
“This is a landmark moment in our efforts to protect and restore our national parks,” Portman said in a statement.
“The Restore Our Parks Act will help rebuild our national park infrastructure by helping to address the more than $12 billion backlog in long-delayed maintenance projects throughout our park system while supporting more than 100,000 jobs over the next five years,” Portman added. “Now that this important legislation is law, Ohio’s national parks can start to address the more than $100 million in critical infrastructure improvements necessary across our eight national parks.”
According to a National Park Service spokesperson, the Trump Administration has 90 days to send a list of proposed projects to Congress. The list will determine how much federal funding states receive.
“This is a very big deal,” Trump said in signing the legislation. “And from an environmental standpoint and from just the beauty of our country standpoint, there hasn’t been anything like this since Teddy Roosevelt, I suspect.”
According to the National Park Service, national parks nationwide had $11.9 billion in deferred maintenance at the end of the 2018 fiscal year, the most recent data available. Sites in Ohio reported nearly $114.1 million in deferred maintenance:
- Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Xenia: $2.4 million
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron: $51.9 million
- Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Dayton: $3.6 million
- First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton: $882,206
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe: $3.5 million
- James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor: $1.2 million
- Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay: $48.4 million
- William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati: $2.2 million
The deferred maintenance estimates are in addition to capital improvement and other facility maintenance projects.
“The legislation will ensure crucial investments are made in our nation’s most meaningful landscapes to enable their preservation, accessibility, and enjoyment for this and future generations,” Sally Mayberry, a public affairs specialist for the National Park Service, said in an email.
Todd DeFeo is a contributor to The Center Square