Ten Percent of Total Council Request - Increase at the Crux of Parks Equity Argument Following Hearing
NEW YORK – As Chair of the City Council Parks Committee, Council Member Mark Levine (D - 7th district) has called for an increase in funds to achieve greater equity in the parks system. Yesterday, the New York City Council released its response to the preliminary budget calling for an over $27 million increase in the Park’s Department budget. Release of the response followed Wednesday’s hearing on “Equity in Parks: Do Disparities Exist in the Care of the City’s Open Space?”
“All families should have access to fully functioning parks in peak condition. As the hearing we held yesterday revealed, many neighborhood parks are severely underfunded. It’s unfair to have a two-tiered system where the parks with the wealthiest neighbors have more resources than those in low-income areas,” said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the council parks committee. “The responsibility for maintaining all public parks should lie with the city. We cannot continue to rely on private entities and funding to properly care for these precious open spaces. This proposal will start to address the gaping inequity in our Parks system.”
The City Council Preliminary Budget Response calls for additional funding for:
Parks maintenance: The additional $17.5 million would allow the Department of Parks and Recreation to hire 10 full time workers and 5 full time gardeners per borough.
Park Enforcement Patrol: Hiring an additional 150 PEP officers with the $10 million increase.
Capital Projects Division: Streamline the Public Design and the Landmarks Commission's approval process for parks capital projects and add 55 new staff positions to facilitate the capital project process.