DE BLASIO ADMINISTRATION, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY COUNCIL, LAUNCHES COMMUNITY PARKS INITIATIVE TO BUILD MORE INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE PARK SYSTEM

Levine: “Multi-faceted plan is a major step forward towards the goal of equity for all our city’s vital green spaces.”

NEW YORK -- Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, New York City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Member Levine, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation announced a huge step forward in addressing parks equity. Standing at Bowne Playground in Queens, the Mayor and the City Council announced the Community Parks Initiative (CPI), which will target 35 small, neighborhood parks through a $130 million capital investment. The framework represents a commitment to increasing the accessibility and quality of those parks that serve all of New York City's diverse constituencies in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.

In response, Council Member Mark Levine said:

“For years, a small number of New York City’s marquis parks have prospered, while hundreds of neighborhood green spaces languish under a stagnant Parks Department budget. Nowhere is this disparity more glaring than in the city’s low-income neighborhoods, where small parks and playgrounds have often missed out on renovations and gotten short shrift on maintenance. Today, that starts to change.

“I am thrilled that Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Parks Department and the City Council are investing in dozens of long-neglected neighborhood parks around the five
boroughs. From Thomas Boyland Park in Brooklyn to Ranaqua in the South Bronx to Carmansville Playground right here in the 7th Council District, a total of 35 neighborhood green spaces will receive million of dollars for upgrades and renovations.

“Thanks in part to significant investment by the City Council, parks in the CPI initiative will receive critical operating support to sustain these capital investments. This comes in the form of increased funding for gardeners, maintenance workers, and community partnership. Working with Partnerships for Parks, a joint program of NYC Parks and the City Parks Foundation, we'll also engage community stakeholders and help local community partners, such as friends-of groups, to build their own capacity to use, program, and be advocates for their parks.

“This multi-faceted plan is a major step forward towards the goal of equity for all our city’s vital green spaces. I’m proud that Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, the City Council, and many other leaders have stepped up to make this ground-breaking plan a reality.” 

Capital Investment

  • Capital projects will rebuild 35 community parks (65.5 acres of parkland).
  • $130 million in capital dollars will be targeted to densely populated, growing, and lower income communities. The funding includes a mayoral commitment of more than $110 million, and will leverage an additional nearly $20 million in funds from elected officials and grant sources.
  • Capital projects will be supported by community outreach coordinators to facilitate—with NYC Parks’ design team—community engagement around the capital process, as well as develop long-term local partners and friends-of groups.
  • Through smaller-scale, targeted physical improvement projects such as painting and plantings, CPI will use existing Parks resources to bring immediate impacts to communities at more than 55 complementary sites.

Partnerships

  • CPI will grow the capacity of local stewards beyond the capital project phase.
  • There will be an annual investment of $780,000 for outreach and technical assistance, including new staff members.
  • $750,000 in City Council funding will be made available to City Parks Foundation for community-building work through the Partnerships for Parks program. This will include support for CPI communities.  

Programming & Maintenance

  • CPI will promote place-making and encourage physical activity, before and after capital investments.
  • There will be $4.2 million allocated from the City Council’s expense funding for Fiscal Year 15 to increase maintenance capacity with City Park Worker and Gardener hires in CPI Zones.
  • There will be an annual investment of $1.4 million for more than 70 new recreational programming and maintenance staff.
  • Playground Associates will offer seasonal programming for kids and adults, such as Kids in Motion and Shape Up NYC, at nearly 100 parks throughout the CPI Zones. 

Through these measures, CPI will impact New Yorkers by:

  • Improving park access and quality for approximately 220,000 New Yorkers who live within a 10-minute walk of the 35 parks targeted for Phase I improvement.
  • Improving park access, quality, amenities, and maintenance across communities in the 55 CPI Zones.
  • Reaching 24 New York City Community Districts, with a total population of 3,270,000, where 36 percent live below the poverty line and 41 percent are under age 18.
  • Providing Parks-staffed recreational programs for kids, mobile fitness classes, and programs generated by community stewards in order to promote healthy living and active lifestyles at nearly 100 parks in target communities.
  • Providing more than 70 new seasonal and fulltime jobs in park maintenance, horticulture, and recreational programming, as well as approximately 15 permanent design and 14 outreach, planning and other supporting staff positions.

To identify the scope and reach of the CPI program, NYC Parks completed a detailed analysis to assess parks’ capital need and determine the program's focus neighborhoods, or CPI Zones. This analysis:

  • Identified parks with less than $250,000 of capital investment over the last 20 years.
  • Screened for neighborhoods with the greatest needs—defined as neighborhoods having above-average density, high population growth, and an above-average percentage of residents living below the poverty level.
  • Examined places with high need for improvement, potential local partners, programming opportunities, and local priorities.
  • Surveyed parks across the five boroughs.

The Community Parks Initiative, the first phase of NYC Parks: Framework for an Equitable Future, will bring NYC Parks’ agency resources together in a coordinated way to better leverage our investments, efficiently targeting those resources to address open space needs in underserved communities through a multi-faceted approach. CPI is a scalable and intensive approach to improving the small parks that directly serve communities. It is also just one of many steps NYC Parks will take toward building a more equitable future for our park system. Mayor de Blasio has committed New York City to building and fostering the growth of economic opportunity, social equity, and livable neighborhoods. With the Community Parks Initiative, NYC Parks supports Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to aggressively tackle equity issues in our communities. 

The following 35 parks were identified for full re-creations in CPI's first phase of investment.

BRONX

Hunts Point Playground 

Little Claremont Park 

Longfellow Garden 

Lyons Square Playground

Melrose Commons Site 32 

Playground 52 

Ranaqua Park 

Saw Mill Playground 

Seabury Park  

BROOKLYN 

Jesse Owens Playground 

Saratoga Ballfields 

Stockton Playground 

Stroud Playground 

Ten Eyck Playground 

Thomas Boyland Park 

MANHATTAN

Carmansville Playground 

Henry M. Jackson Playground 

James Weldon Johnson Playground 

Luther Gulick Playground 

Martin Luther King Playground 

Playground 103 CIII 

Sol Lain Playground 

St Nicholas Playground North 

White Playground 

QUEENS 

Astoria Heights Playground 

Bowne Playground 

Corona Mac Park 

Grassmere Playground  

Rockaway Community Park / Conch Playground 

Van Alst Playground 

STATEN ISLAND

Arrochar Playground 

DeMatti Playground

Grandview Playground 

Levy Playground 

McDonald Playground  

For additional information on the Community Parks Initiative, please visit nyc.gov/parks.

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