NYC Park Photo: Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr 

New York City’s Community Parks Initiative (CPI) devotes funding and resources to the City’s smaller public parks. Since 2014, the City has invested $285 million in capital funds to parks that had been budgeted less than $200,000 in capital funding over the past 20 years.

These parks are located in the city’s most densely populated areas and have higher-than-average poverty rates. New conservancy engagements will bring $15 million of funding and services to parks in CPI neighborhoods until 2018, bringing beautification, programming and complete rebuilds to over 80 parks. 

This announcement comes on the heels of the inaugural Buildings & Infrastructure Seminar hosted by the National Association of Professional Women in Construction. Professionals at the seminar like Samara Barend of AECOM Capital urged more private investment in public infrastructure, calling it “the funding game-changer New York needs.” 

President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Maria Torres-Springer also spoke at the seminar. She touted the EDC’s management of over 200 city properties, including a $5 billion capital budget to build parks, streetscapes, and infrastructure. Among its many projects, the EDC has plans to build an entirely new neighborhood on top of the 200-acre railyard in Sunnyside, as well as providing over $180 million in infrastructure to Coney Island.

Eight of the city’s top non-profit groups devoted to public parks are pledging ongoing private commitments to CPI:

The Battery Conservancy:

  • Beginning a Community Gardener program
  • In partnership with the Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Will include the Lower East Side GreenThumb community
  • To expand on its work supporting urban farming and horticulture

Bryant Park Corporation:

  • Securing sponsorship funding
  • Devoting a portion of their profits from the Bryant Park Carousel and merchandise sales to programming and community engagement in CPI neighborhoods

Central Park Conservancy:

  • Offering a wide range of services to CPI neighborhoods including beautification and maintenance, waste management, gardner training, design services, and community education

Friends of the High Line:

  • Renovating two community gardens
  • Expanding its Green Corps teen job program
  • Extending its public art programming

Madison Square Park Conservancy:

  • Specifically supporting the Von King Park Conservancy (VKPC) in Brooklyn
  • Providing “technical assistance and fundraising support

New York Restoration Project:

  • Planting 335 trees in Bronx CPI neighborhoods

Prospect Park Alliance:

  • Offering design services to three CPI parks
  • Supporting community engagement with public scoping sessions and design presentations

Randall’s Island Park Alliance:

  • Overseeing infrastructure improvements, staff training, and enhanced programming at Thomas Jefferson Park
  • Expanding its cooperative sports programming, which currently includes that Jesse Owens Track & Field youth program

Mayor Bill de Blasio underscored the importance of these groups in the city.

“Every child deserves bright, green space right in their neighborhood – and this essential support from our city’s conservancies will help us make this a reality,” he said.

De Blasio also specifically thanked the city’s conservancy partners and their boards for using their resources and expertise to help improve the city’s parks.

More than 500,000 New Yorkers have already participated in free public programming through CPI.

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