Mayor de Blasio and the City Council agreed Wednesday to add $16.25 million to the Parks Department's budget: a significant victory for park advocates across the city.
The increase, to be funded by a blend of Council and mayoral money, includes:
· $8.75 million for 200 full-time maintenance workers and gardeners
· $5 million for 80 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers
· $1 million for tree pruning
· $750,000 for a neighborhood parks equity fund for "friends of" groups
· $750,000 for the removal of approximately 2,300 stumps
As we’ve noted throughout the spring budget season, addressing park inequities begins with the public budget. This significant increase, for which the Council and de Blasio administration are to be commended, is a great start. The addition of full-time maintenance workers and gardeners will boost on-the-ground accountability, and the added PEP officers will help alleviate quality-of-life issues. And in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and other significant weather events, we’re grateful that our call for additional tree pruning and stump removal money was answered, too.
While just a start, this increase – and the momentum in the Council and among advocates that helped bring it to fruition – sets a strong precedent for future de Blasio administration budgets. It’s clear that the Council, under the leadership of Parks Committee Chairman Mark Levine, made park funding one of its priorities this year, and that is in no small part due to the efforts of park advocates. Next year, with your help, we’ll build on those efforts and aim even higher. From all of us at New Yorkers for Parks: THANK YOU!
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