Thirty-five of New York’s neighborhood parks won’t have to worry about keeping the grass green in the coming year, because the de Blasio administration is about to make it rain.
RECOMMENDED: Find more on NYC parks
Mayor de Blasio joined a number of city officials at Bowne Playground in Flushing this morning to announce a new initiative to channel $130 million towards improving and maintaining 35 city parks. The program will rely on public funding to fix up parks in primarily low-income neighborhoods, with repairs like like fixing broken pavement, adding sprinklers, landscaping and more. (Perhaps animal homicide detectives?).
Today’s announcement from Park Slope’s newest landlord fulfills one of de Blasio’s main campaign promises to divert resources to smaller parks, which many neighborhood advocates say were overlooked during the Bloomberg Administration. Though the city spent $6 billion on urban parks during Bloomberg's 12 years, most of the funds were used for projects in higher-income areas, including Governor’s Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and those ground waterfalls on the High Line.
By relying on public funds, de Blasio is departing somewhat from his campaign proposal to make wealthier conservancies, like the Central Park Conservancy, donate a certain percentage of their budget to neighborhood parks. But at least local green spaces will finally get some love.
“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," said City Council member Mark Levine, chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. "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."
The full list of parks that will be receiving makeovers hasn’t yet been released, but some of those already announced include Ranaqua Park in Mott Haven, Luther Gulick Park on the Lower East Side, Saratoga Balllfields in Brownsville, Thomas Boyland Park in Brooklyn and Carmansville Playground in Harlem.
Watch a video of the full announcement below.