Dig Deep For a Greener New York City: Policy Forum on Funding an Equitable Park System

Articles | November 7, 2014

Notwithstanding several recent, high-profile capital projects, New York City’s parks as a whole have suffered from public disinvestment for years.  The shortfall is starkest with regard to operation and maintenance; the Parks Department’s operating budget has been cut back for over 40 years, and is now 37% less than in 1961.

The city will have to dramatically expand annual operating and maintenance funds to provide a fully-funded city park system.  Alternative funding sources allowed under existing laws can also help bridge the gap through innovative zoning, public/public partnerships, state agencies, business improvement districts and dedicated park funds.  At this forum, NYLCVEF and New Yorkers for Parks examined these and other alternative financing models to identify a concrete strategy for a more equitable future.

Mitchell Silver the Commissioner of New York City Department of Parks & Recreation offered introductory remarks to begin the program acknowledging the current administration’s commitment to a more equitable park system.

The first panel moderated by Sally Goldenberg, Capital NY Reporter explored creative funding strategies toward greater parks equity. Panelists included Christopher Rizzo, Counsel at Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, Candace Damon the Vice President of HR&A, David Karnovsky, Partner with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and former Counsel to NYC Department of City Planning and Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation

The second panel moderated by Council Member Mark Levine the Chair of Parks Committee focused on specific strategies for on the ground innovation. Panelists included Adrian Benepe, Senior Vice President of Trust for Public Land, Dan Biederman the President of Bryant Park BID, Marianna Koval, Senior Policy Advisor for the City Department of Environmental Protection and Ed Uhlir, Executive Director of Chicago Millennium Park.

This was the second of a three-part policy forum series called Dig Deep for a Greener New York. The series aimed to shed light on timely opportunities around parks funding, green infrastructure and composting. NYLCVEF policy forums  bring together a wide range of stakeholders and challenge preconceived notions. NYLCVEF will produce a set of concrete recommendations after each forum to guide policy makers on their next steps. For more information, read our background paper, Alternative Funding for an Equitable Park System, prepared by Christopher Rizzo.

Dig Deep for a Greener New York is hosted by

in partnership with New Yorkers for Parks

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