The City Council Is Listening - But It's Not Over

April 11, 2019

On April 10, the City Council released their response to the Mayor's preliminary Executive Budget for fiscal year 2020, and one thing is clear: they are listening! Some key pieces of funding called for by Play Fair are included in their budget response which shows that the campaign is working!

However, the City Council’s budget falls short of our $100 million ask and we must keep up the pressure.

One of their top asks of the Mayor is to provide permanent funding for 150 parks workers and gardeners, providing these folks with good green jobs while also securing some of the maintenance work that our parks so desperately need.

They also recommended that NYC Parks not be included in the Mayor's proposed hiring freeze, which is great news for an agency that is already deeply understaffed.

However, a key piece of Play Fair’s budget ask is missing: we called for $65 million to allow the 48 largest parks in NYC, vital neighborhood and regional resources, to have on-site zone management maintenance crews. These crews are a critical to larger parks, where the size requires maintenance staff who are experts in the unique landscapes of each zone. It would also expand on-site crews to all eligible smaller neighborhood parks that currently lack full-time, dedicated staff.

We need to continue to push for the full $100 million to be included in the budget. This funding would have a transformative impact on our parks and open spaces while also creating good, green jobs for New Yorkers. 

In addition to their request to the Mayor to provide $10 million to permanently fund park worker positions, the City Council also called on the Administration to increase the Parks Department’s Fiscal 2020 Executive Budget by $26.5 million to improve maintenance and operations, allocated in almost exactly the same way that the Play Fair campaign calls for:  

  • $4 million for care and maintenance of natural forests to ensure that they remain healthy and resilient in our changing climate;
  • $8 million to improve all 550 GreenThumb community gardens with new soil, new raised beds, and other resources that gardeners need;
  • $4 million for the 395 playgrounds to host structured sports and afterschool programs for children in every district;
  • $3 million to add 50 new Urban Park Rangers; and
  • $7.5 million to hire an additional 100 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers (Play Fair asked for $6 million to hire an additional 80 officers.)

The City Council recognizes that parks are critical city infrastructure, and now that we know they're listening it's time to raise our voices even more and tell the City to Play Fair for parks!