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Huge crowd at capitol to oppose limiting purchase of land for public purposes

DES MOINES — A proposal to make it more difficult to create new public parks and recreation areas in Iowa drew a big crowd of opponents to the state Capitol Monday. It would prevent state dollars from being used to acquire land for public use.

Alicia Vasto of the Iowa Environmental Council says the legislation is tone-deaf to what many Iowans – especially younger people – want.  “Access to public space and recreation is important to me and my generation,” Vasto said. “It’s a quality of life issue that cannot be understated and is an ongoing part of the conversation around workforce recruitment and brain drain.”

Marc Beltrame spoke on behalf of Ducks Unlimited. “This legislation doesn’t create another job,” Beltrame said. “It doesn’t make it easier to bring people to the state. It doesn’t make it easier to retain people that are already here.”

The bill has the backing of the Iowa Farm Bureau. The group argues it could make it easier for beginning farmers to buy land and ensure state money is used to maintain and enhance existing public land. A three-member House subcommittee did not take a position on the bill Monday. A Senate committee MAY consider a similar bill later today


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