Holding the Line for A Strong Parks System

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

We spoke up for parks, and we plan to continue. 

The budget that Mayor Bill de Blasio submitted in the spring would have dented NYC Parks' ability to keep open spaces clean and attractive. Seeking to save operating costs, the mayor proposed cutting essential money from the Parks budget, including $8.7 million for 150 park gardeners and maintenance workers- money the City Council added last year. 

Then NY4P and our allies swung into action. 

Working with Councilmember Mark Levine and dozens of grassroots activists, we staged a rally on the City Hall steps demanding more funding for the parks and gardens that elevate our lives. Journalists from the New York Times, among others, began to hear our call. If the mayor wants a city that delivers great benefits to everyone, how can he sign a budget that makes it harder for NYC Parks to do its job? 

We still have to pose that question to the mayor, despite the welcome news we got today. In adopting a final budget, the City Council restored the $8.7 million for maintenance staff.  It also gained $1.65 million for the Parks Equity Initiative, which will support work in parks under the Community Parks Initiative. This will make it possible for more parks in more neighborhoods to stay safe, clean and useful. This is a real win for advocates and for neighborhood residents who love their local open space. 

It's also a challenge to us to keep organizing. The budget misses a lot of needs, like funds for capital and for midsize parks, for GreenThumb and community gardens and a permanent increase in maintenance funds. We'll be fighting for these issues in coming months, well ahead of next year's budget. That's because parks' benefits, and their needs, never end. 

For now, though, we thank our partners and supporters for bringing back much-needed dollars to a park system we all cherish  in so many ways. 

Click here to find your councilmember and thank him or her for speaking up for parks- and give the word that we need more for all our parks in budgets to come. 

See all news