De Blasio Administration Launches Community Parks Initiative to Build More Inclusive and Equitable Park System
$130 million investment to re-create 35 parks in communities with greatest need; additional $36.3 million DEP investment to fund green infrastructure improvements
Approximately 220,000 New Yorkers living within 10-minute walk of targeted parks to benefit from initial investment
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP today launched the Community Parks Initiative—a multi-faceted program to invest in under-resourced public parks located in New York City’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. CPI’s first phase will target 35 community parks through a $130 million capital investment that promotes the full re-creation of these parks, $7.2 million in expense funding for Fiscal Year 2015, and $36.3 million in capital funding from the Department of Environmental Protection for green infrastructure improvements at these sites. CPI’s first phase will target 55 neighborhoods across the five boroughs, reaching approximately 220,000 New Yorkers living within a 10-minute walk of the targeted parks. In its entirety, the initiative’s first phase represents over $173 million in capital and expense funding.
CPI represents the first phase of NYC Parks: Framework for an Equitable Future. The framework outlines NYC Parks’ commitment to increasing the accessibility and quality of New York City’s parks in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs through a dynamic series of immediate steps and long-term initiatives to support sustainable, equitable park development and implement a targeted level of service improvements across the park system.
The announcement was held at Bowne Playground in Queens—one of 35 sites that will benefit from an infusion of capital investment, community outreach, expanded recreational programming, and increased maintenance.
Thanks to significant investments by the City Council in increased funding for gardeners, maintenance workers, and community partnership, parks in the CPI initiative will receive critical operating support to sustain the capital investments. Additional staff and resources will be allocated across critical categories including community outreach, capital and planning, recreational programming, and park maintenance. Community engagement and stewardship is a hallmark of CPI. Through Partnerships for Parks, a joint program of NYC Parks and the City Parks Foundation, using the proven Catalyst model, NYC Parks will engage community stakeholders, such as “Friends of” groups, and help them build their own capacity to use, program, and be advocates for their parks. The program will also engage agency partners, including the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Education, the New York City Housing Authority, and the Administration for Children’s Services to achieve shared goals.
Through its Green Infrastructure Initiative, DEP has committed more than $36 million in stormwater management funds to the CPI to ensure that the revitalized park spaces also manage stormwater, keeping it out of the combined sewer system and helping to reduce combined sewage overflows that sometimes occur during heavy rainfall. Through a similar partnership with the Trust for Public Land, DEP has helped fund the reconstruction of five school yards to date, creating community playgrounds that collectively manage millions of gallons of stormwater that might otherwise pollute our waterways. In addition, eight more school yards are currently in design or under construction.
Uniquely uniting the best practices of NYC Parks and our partners’ work, the Community Parks Initiative goes beyond capital improvement to comprise the following core components:
• 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.
For additional information on the Community Parks Initiative, please visit nyc.gov/parks.
142-30 Barclay Avenue, Queens