New Yorkers for Parks: City Must Protect Parks and Open Spaces as New Yorkers Grapple with COVID-19 Pandemic
Urges Funding to Keep Parks Safe and Well-Maintained, and to Protect Jobs
New York, NY - New Yorkers for Parks Director of Outreach and Programs Emily Walker today submitted testimony to the New York City Council Executive Budget Hearing calling on them to protect parks and open spaces, and issued the following statement:
“As we’ve seen in recent weeks, New Yorkers are turning to parks and open spaces for refuge as the city copes with the COVID-19 pandemic. These are truly unprecedented times, but New Yorkers count on parks and open spaces to be there for them throughout it all. Cutting funding for parks now, when we arguably need them more than ever, would be a mistake.
“That’s why we and the 250 other members of the Play Fair Coalition are calling on the City to include an additional $47M for NYC in the upcoming Adopted FY 21 expense budget. Most of this was appropriated by the City last year and we are asking for it to be maintained. This funding will ensure that our parks remain safe, well-maintained, and provide equitable health and environmental benefits to communities across the city.
“It includes funding for 342 parks maintenance and safety staff positions whose jobs are due to expire on July 1. Parks workers are deemed “essential city workers” and they have been putting themselves on the line daily. We strongly believe these hard-working New Yorkers deserve job security, and that all New Yorkers deserve to have parks that are adequately staffed and cared-for.
“While parkland comprises 14 percent of all city land, last year it received just 0.6 percent of the City budget. In a city that champions equity, we have to start treating our parks, gardens and open space as critical city infrastructure, which also means investing in the infrastructure of the thousands of people who care for them day-in and day-out.”
About New Yorkers for Parks:
For over 100 years New Yorkers for Parks has been the independent champion for quality parks and open space for all New Yorkers. Through our research, advocacy, and the Daffodil Project, we work with communities and elected officials to promote and preserve quality open space across the city. We are a founding member of Play Fair, a multi-year campaign to protect and create jobs, and ensure open spaces receive essential maintenance and care, particularly in light of the increased use of parks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: www.ny4p.org or www.playfair.nyc