2016: Increased Parks Department staff, improvements to Anchor Parks, and a new webinar series: Based on our research, and with the input of community members from our How's Your Park, NYC? outreach, we focused our budget advocacy on the preservation and creation of jobs within the Parks Department, and restoration of neighborhood parks. In the FY 2017 budget, our call was answered: Mayor de Blasio added $12 million for peak seasonal staff - three times the usual amount - and the city council provided $96 million to preserve 150 maintenance worker and gardener positions for another year. The mayor included over $400 million for the next round of the Community Parks Initiative, which address inequity in our parks, and for improvements to "Anchor Parks" in every borough. In the fall of 2016 we started a new webinar series that helps people get involved in local government policy. Going on the Record explains how to give testimony at a City Council hearing, covering every step and offering guidance on how to craft messaging.
2015: $10.35 Million for the Parks Department budget, and a new community outreach initiative: Working closely with New York City Council Parks Committee Chairman Mark Levine, other City and elected officials, and park advocates throughout the spring, NY4P helped the Council secure a $8.7 million for maintenance workers and gardeners, which had been removed by the mayor in the preliminary budget. Parks also gained $1.65 million for the Parks Equity Initiative, which supports work in parks under the Community Parks Initiative. In the fall of 2015 we launched our new outreach initiative, How's Your Park, NYC? Through borough-wide meetings NY4P convened advocates from 80 neighborhoods across the city to help us identify funding needs for parks, as well as ongoing concerns about maintenance and conditions in parks and gardens citywide.
2014: $16.25 Million for a better Parks Department budget: Working closely with New York City Council Parks Committee Chairman Mark Levine, other City and elected officials, and park advocates throughout the spring, NY4P helped the Council secure a $16.25 million increase for the Parks Department's maintenance and operations budget. That amount includes $8.75 million for 200 full-time maintenance workers and gardeners, $5 million for 80 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, $1 million for tree pruning, $750,000 for stump removal, and $750,000 for a neighborhood parks equity fund for "friends of" groups.
2013: $25 million & new public-private partnership for Flushing Meadows Corona Park: In connection with City Council approval of two development projects – the National Tennis Center’s Expansion and Queens Development Group’s Willets West Project – an NY4P advocacy campaign helped deliver more than $25 million to improve and maintain Flushing Meadows Corona Park and seed a new nonprofit alliance for the park. No publicly usable parkland was lost in the process. Thanks to funding from the Altman Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, and New York Community Trust, NY4P hired a leading national expert to conduct an independent study to estimate the park's current and upgraded maintenance costs, which helped determine the eventual amount given to the park. Additionally, NY4P opposed a plan to build a Major League Soccer soccer stadium in the heart of the park in a New York Daily News Op-Ed. The City and MLS backed off plans to build in the park.
2012: $38 million Parks Department budget: According to public officials, NY4P can claim a large share of the credit for the $38 million increase to the Parks Department’s budget for Fiscal Year 2013, thanks to recent advocacy efforts that included a rally with Council Members and citywide parks advocates on the steps of City Hall. We also helped bring the potential dangers of insufficient tree care to light, resulting in the first increase in funding for tree pruning since 2008.
2012: Safeguarded open space in large-scale NYU rezoning: Through our ongoing advocacy in 2011 and 2012, we were successful in convincing New York University and the City to alter NYU’s 2031 development plan to ensure that the open spaces created in the plan will be more accessible and welcoming, serve a broader spectrum of New Yorkers, and be better maintained than the current spaces within the superblocks south of Washington Square Park. We convinced the University to map the open space where Mercer Playground has existed for several decades, and we helped develop a stringent long-term maintenance and operations plan for all open spaces on the site, including establishment of a community oversight body and an NYU-funded maintenance endowment. The plan's final approval also includes greater protections for LaGuardia Community Garden, which we will continue to monitor.