Speaker Corey Johnson, NYC Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Parks Committee Chair Peter Koo and Park Advocates Kick Off 2020 as Year of the Parks

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, NYC Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver, the Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Peter Koo, New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P), New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV), District Council 37 (DC 37) and community leaders gathered in Queensbridge Park to launch as 2020 as the Year of the Parks. In the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, the Council worked with the Administration and the Play Fair Coalition in adding $44 million to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation’s budget.

This historic investment will make parks cleaner, safer and more accessible year round. Specifically, the 2020 budget will add 50 new Urban Park Rangers, 80 more Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, 150 maintenance workers and gardeners, forestry management, and new soil, raised beds and other supplies for 550 community gardens citywide.  This includes 150 positions which have baselined, meaning that they are permanent and every year these workers don’t have to wonder if they will still have a job on July 1. It has been a six year fight to get these positions permanent.

From Staten Island to the Bronx, every borough will benefit, in every season.

“Parks are our backyards, front yards, our gyms, our wellness centers, where we host birthday parties and quinceañeras, family reunions, weddings and so much more. I grew up with a park as my backyard, and it was deeply personal for me to ensure all our City’s parks get the funding they deserve. I thank the Council’s Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, Capital Budget Subcommittee Chair Vanessa Gibson and Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Peter Koo for their partnership in securing this funding, and I look forward to working with Commissioner Mitchell Silver in making our parks greener and more fun for all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. 

“We are grateful that so many passionate New Yorkers care for our parks,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Our collaborative efforts resulted in this generous $43 million investment in staff, contracts and materials. We will work hard to ensure that the benefits are equitably applied across the parks system to those areas most in need.”

“As a lifelong New
Yorker I am beaming with pride over the success of the Play Fair Coalition, the
largest grassroots advocacy coalition for Parks in nearly 20 years, led by New
Yorkers for Parks, the New York League of Conservation Voters and District
Council 37. We are deeply grateful to Speaker Johnson and City Hall for
listening to us and the millions of New Yorkers that depend on our parks and
gardens every day. Great parks make great cities, but great people make great
parks. This historic investment in parks shows how powerful we are when we work
together,” said Lynn Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks.

“This year’s Parks budget includes a historic $44 million increase that will secure more maintenance workers, urban park rangers, and PEP officers. Baselining some of this funding will ensure a significant increase in the essential personnel responsible for the security and upkeep of our community’s parks and playgrounds. I’d like to thank Speaker Johnson, the Parks Committee, our Council colleagues and the many parks advocates who prioritized our parks in this year’s budget,” said Council Member Peter Koo, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation.

“Our parks are integral to the fabric of our communities and the sustainability of our city. This year’s budget allocates a historic $44 million for new and improved parks across all five boroughs. We must continue to increase the amount of green space in New York City that is open, accessible, and designed for people of all ages to enjoy,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “Our parks are our backyards. They are our sanctuaries. This funding will mean more staff to clean, plant, and take care of our parks. And more than that, this funding shows our ongoing commitment to ensuring all of our parks are well-funded and maintained.”

“We all know the vital role parks play in making this the greatest place on Earth, whether it’s providing a respite for New Yorkers or serving as the frontline in our fight against climate change,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “As a founding member of the Play Fair coalition and as a member of the Budget Negotiating team, I proudly fought to secure more funding for our parks because it’s obvious the need more love. Thanks to Speaker Corey Johnson for securing $44 million in this year’s budget to embolden our green spaces for the betterment of all New Yorkers.”

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, “This City Budget puts major green into our city’s green assets: a historic $44 million for increased investment in parks.  This shows that when 140 organizations come together to Play Fair for parks, we see historic results. We thank Speaker Johnson and the City Council for securing these much-needed investments and working with Mayor de Blasio to come to an agreement.”     

The $44 million investment in the FY20 budget for the City’s parks includes:

  • $19.1 million for park maintenance workers, including 200 park workers, 100 gardeners, of which $9.6 million for 100 park workers and 50 gardeners is baselined
  • $1 million to support tree stump removal
  • $1.7 million to extend the City’s pool and beach season by an additional one week
  • $4 million for additional 50 Urban Park Rangers
  • $6 million for additional 80 Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers
  • $4 million for Forestry Management
  • $8.2 million to support all 550 GreenThumb community gardens citywide