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New York Times Letter: Private Charity for Parks

Thursday, November 08, 2012

To the Editor:

Re “Central Park Gets More, While the City’s Poorer Parks, Well, They Just Get By,” by Michael Powell (Gotham column, Oct. 30):

Even before the systemwide cleanup necessitated by Hurricane Sandy, budget shortfalls for New York City parks were significant. But the Central Park Conservancy and private donors like John A. Paulson do not worsen the problem; they help address it.

Mr. Paulson’s $100 million gift to Central Park will ensure that the most visited park in the city, and likely the world, can be maintained for generations to come, with minimal reliance on limited public dollars.

Moreover, this gift refocuses the city’s philanthropic organizations on parks at a critical time when many have redirected charitable dollars toward other environmental causes, even as the city slashed the Parks Department’s budget five years in a row.

Our job is not to second-guess Mr. Paulson’s generosity but to build upon this validation of urban parks by encouraging more private involvement in neighborhood parks and exploring creative ways to finance pressing needs in parks citywide without sacrificing their character.

EDWARD C. WALLACE
HOLLY M. LEICHT
New York, Nov. 7, 2012

The writers are, respectively, chairman and executive director of New Yorkers for Parks.




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