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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 04, 2017
CONTACT: Jake Sporn // 917-842-5748 // jsporn@council.nyc.gov

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.

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