State Rep. Kate Harper, R-61st District, has been honored by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society for her help in preserving funds for statewide conservation efforts.
Harper received the PRPS’s 2013 Governmental Award for her work to protect funding for the state’s Keystone recreation, Park and Conservation Fund program during state budget negotiations last year, according to PRPS Executive Director Karen Burke.
“Representative Harper continues to work to secure the Keystone Fund, in addition to being an avid supporter of a broad range of conservation, open space, recreation and park issues,” said Burke.
At the start of state budget talks last year, the 2012-13 Pennsylvania budget would have taken nearly $40 million out of the Keystone Fund, which was created by a statewide referendum in 1993 and is partially funded by state real estate transfer taxes.
“I am honored to be recognized by a group that does so much to advance recreational opportunities in the state and educate people about the value of our parks,” Harper said.
“Years ago, I got involved in my community to try to save parks, trails and open spaces at a time when local elected officials did not see a need for parks. I think any well-run community has parks, trails and public spaces,” which the Keystone Fund helps secure, she said.
This is not the first budget battle that Harper has fought for the fund, nor the first time she has been honored for doing so — according to PRPS, in 2007 Harper successfully argued against efforts to use Keystone funding for hazardous site cleanup, and the next year she received the PRPS’s Governmental Award for the first time.