Speak Up for Parks Before June 30

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Mayor's Executive Budget falls short of funding basic maintenance and capital needs for New York  City's parks and community gardens. 

Fortunately, the Executive Budget isn't the last word. The mayor and City Council will agree by June 30 on a budget for the next fiscal year. You can reach out to your public officials now and tell them to make vital additions so that all New York City parks can thrive. 

"For pennies on the dollar, the city can strategically invest in making public spaces clean, useful and safe," our executive director, Tupper Thomas, said in testimony to the City Council in May. 

Specifically, the city should take these steps (see our news archive for a fuller analysis): 

  • Restore $8.7 million for full time gardeners and park maintenance workers, allowing NYC Parks to rely less on  temporary workers.
  • Add $5.4 million for 200 new playground associates, who play an integral role in keeping parks and playgrounds safe and well-kept during the warm months when parks are busiest.
  • Add $5 million in capital funding and $1 million in expense funding to the GreenThumb program for community gardens. 
  • Restore the $750,000 added last year to hire additional community outreach staff through Partnerships for Parks. 
  • Provide $500,000 for a master-planning process in at least four neighborhood parks.
  • Add $50 million in discretionary capital spending for sites that may need more funding to complete, or that won't likely get funding from elsewhere.

Councilmember Mark Levine, who chairs the Parks Committee, has stepped out in front on this issue. He cowrote an opinion piece with Tupper that lays out the additions the budget needs. 

More recently, Levine told the New York Times: "If you want every park to be beautifully maintained, then we have to spend money on staffing." 

Councilmembers are joining our cause. At a May 27 rally we co-hosted with Councilmember Levine, 11 other City Councilmembers spoke up for better parks funding. 


  • Be sure to mention the $8.7 million for full-time staff and $5.4 million for 200 playground associates. 
Mayor de Blasio has made a strong downpayment on improving under-funded neighborhood parks with his Community Parks Initiative. It's time for the city to make necessary investments in all parks. 

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