Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken a major step forward for New York City’s parks.
According to the Daily News, the city is adding another $155 million to its Community Park Initiative, bringing the investment total to $285 million. The new funds will allow for the complete redesign of 12 parks, with additional improvements to another 25. The city plans to announce 20 more sites designated for restructuring within the next three years.
Among the new sites are the Bronx’s Black Rock playground and Lafayette Playground in Brooklyn. Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver claims that the concrete parks will soon host grass. Other targets include Bloomingdales Playground in Manhattan and Staten Island’s Stapleton Playground.
Launched in 2014, the Community Park Initiative plans to revitalize 67 community parks in poverty-stricken areas through 2019. It constitutes the first phase of NYC Parks’ Framework for an Equitable Future, which aims to improve accessibility, efficiency and sustainability in the city’s park system. The CPI has already conducted targeted improvements in some 60 neighborhood playgrounds. Thus far, it has proceeded as expected, on time and within its budget.
According to New Yorkers For Parks, however, the plan has not gone without obstacles. Despite the mayor’s promise to maintain funding for parks within the CPI scope, he has fallen flat of the needed contributions. For the 2015 fiscal year, de Blasio’s administration supplied only 62.5% of the funding for park operations, with the rest supplied by the City council. For the 2016 fiscal year, the Council will supply all $8 million needed.