City Council’s Budget Response Steps Up to Invest in Parks

CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 917-842-5748 //

City Hall, NY -- Following the release of the City Council’s Response to Mayor de Blasio’s FY18 Preliminary Budget, Council Member Mark Levine praised the response for laying out a roadmap to bold, smart investment in the City’s parks system.

“This document is an unmistakably strong statement by the New York City Council that we believe the City needs to up its investment in parks,” said Council Member Levine, Chair of the Parks Committee. “At a time of record parks use - over 100 million last year alone - we are unequivocally demonstrating that the Council sees the parks system as an essential part of the New York’s infrastructure. This budget response recognizes that a thriving parks system isn’t just a luxury in a dense city of 8.5 million people, it’s essential to livability.”

The Council’s budget response calls for several key, high-impact parks initiatives advocated for by Council Member Levine during the Parks Committee’s Preliminary Budget Hearing held on March 21st, including:

  • $6 million for 80 additional Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to address the recent 28% spike in parks crime;

  • $9.55m to continue funding 150 critical gardeners and maintenance workers left out of the Mayor’s budget for the third year in row

  • $1.7m to permanently expand the City’s beach & pool season by a week past Labor Day;

  • $30m to support additional Parks Without Borders Parks projects to make parks more open, welcoming, and beautiful by improving park entrances and adjacent spaces;

  • $3m for 50 new Urban Park Rangers, more than doubling the current 30;

  • $1m for 10 more Partnership for Parks outreach coordinators; and

  • $2.6m to expand funding for street tree pruning, allowing the City to return to the 7-year pruning cycle needed to keep trees healthy and streets safe

“We are delighted to see the City Council’s dedication to parks and open space, and therefore to the health of our city,” said Lynn Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “Under the strong leadership of Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the funding included in this budget will make our parks safer, offer more educational opportunities, and give New Yorkers more time at our beaches and pools. We’ll have more critical support for the volunteer community groups who do so much to improve our green spaces, and an extra hug for the trees of New York. Parks will receive essential maintenance and care, while also providing a job pipeline for parkies, a win-win for the people of New York City.”

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “Safe, well-maintained parks add immeasurably to the quality of life in our city. We worked hard to make this case to the City Council, and we applaud the Council’s proposal to hire more Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, Urban Park Rangers, Gardeners and other maintenance workers, as well as permanently expanding the beach & pool season by a week past Labor Day.”

Council Member Levine’s full opening statement from the March 21st hearing is available here.


Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council members on Friday afternoon announced an agreement on the city's $92.8 billion budget for fiscal 2020, with initiatives to improve health care access at its forefront. The budget includes $26 million to place 200 additional social workers—including 85 working within the city's mental health initiative, ThriveNYC—in public...

Under legislation drafted by the City Council, the de Blasio administration would have to report on its efforts to notify school staff and the students who attended dozens of public schools during the 2001-02 school year that were not far from the World Trade Center site about programs available for...

The city is trying to have tenants sign new leases that only list one official occupant. By Noah Manskar, Patch Staff NEW YORK — New York City is forcing tenants of beleaguered buildings that it owns to sign new leases — and the conditions have raised hackles among lawyers and lawmakers....

By Brian M. Rosenthal The New York attorney general’s office said Monday it had opened an inquiry into more than a decade of lending practices that left thousands of immigrant taxi drivers in crushing debt, while Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a separate investigation into the brokers who helped arrange...

City Councilmember Mark Levine has announced the 2019 winners of participatory budgeting in his district, which includes parts of the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights and Washington Heights. The projects to receive funding are: $250,000 for air conditioning upgrades and new water fountains at P.S. 165 Robert E. Simon School...

By Sabrina Mallot Last fall, the City Council introduced a package of 18 bills aimed at preventing tenants from being displaced due to aggressive tactics from landlords like exploitative buyout agreements or nuisance construction. On Wednesday, May 8, all but one passed. They still require the mayor’s signature, but he...

By Eddie Small The hallways of Bronx Housing Court are crowded and chaotic on a typical weekday morning. Lawyers and tenants scurry across the white tile floors and lounge on the worn-down benches of the Grand Concourse building, where occasionally the sound of one person shouting out a name will...

By Elizabeth Kim A collaboration between a group of housing rights advocates has produced the most comprehensive database yet to measure evictions across New York City and identify many of the landlords responsible for them. Three advocacy groups — Right to Counsel NYC Coalition,, and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project —...

Sign up for our mailing list!

Report a Problem Participatory Budgeting Events