Recommendations and Recap from our 2014 Parks Funding Forum

June 30, 2015

Our second forum in our Dig Deep for a Greener New York policy forum series, focused on Funding an Equitable Park System. Our panelists from a variety of organizations discussed the importance of making sure everyone has access to green spaces.

In order to provide a fully-funded city park system the city will have to dramatically expand annual operating costs. Where will the money come from? Our panel provided great ideas on different funding streams to make sure parks across the entire city are safe and up to date.

After the forum, NYLCVEF worked closely with New Yorkers for Parks and analyzed the recently laid out New York City budget to present recommendations. Our report, Funding an Equitable Park System: Recommendations for New York City lays out concrete steps the City can take to help bring in new revenue for our park system.

Our key recommendations include:

  • The City should expand concessions in parks and divert 20% of revenues to a citywide parks equity fund rather than the general fund.
  • The City should create specific districts to fund new park developments and/or improve existing parks, including the creation of Business Improvement Districts and Park Improvement Districts.
  • The City should use tax increment finance, zoning incentives and development bonuses to leverage private dollars to fund the capital and maintenance needs of local parks.
  • NYC Parks should identify a specific method to fund the maintenance and operations of new parks and facilities at the time that the project capital budgets are developed.
  • Create a citywide park district, an entity that can levy property taxes to supplement the general fund budget with additional maintenance and operations funding.

“New York City has the premier parks system in the country but we’re lagging behind when it comes to how we fund our prized open spaces,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of NYLCVEF. “We look forward to working with the City to implement alternative funding strategies to help achieve a robustly-funded, well-maintained parks system that more equitably allocates resources.”

Click here to view our Recommendations for New York City

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