Increase the city budget for parks!

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  • Your Municipal Officials

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Please increase the FY18 city budget for NYC Parks!

Dear [Decision Maker],

Park use in NYC is at an all-time high, and we believe more investment in staffing and capital improvements must be made to ensure that our parks, gardens, and open spaces are able to serve all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods equitably. As the Mayor and City Council negotiate on a final budget for Fiscal Year 2018, we ask our officials to increase the budget to make our park system more equitable for all.

New Yorkers for Parks supports the following additions to the budget:

- Baselining Maintenance & Operations Staff -
Mayor de Blasio should add and make permanent 150 Maintenance and Operations NYC Parks staff to the budget, for a total cost of $9.6 million. These City Park Workers and Gardeners have been funded by the City Council for the past two years, but the City Council cannot make them permanent. We believe the Mayor should baseline these critical positions.

- Keeping GreenThumb in the Budget -
We call on the Mayor and City Council to allocate $1 million to the GreenThumb division of NYC Parks. GreenThumb receives significant funding from the federal Community Development Block Grant program, and the proposed federal budget cuts the program entirely. This would mean GreenThumb would lose up to one third of their entire staff, and a substantial portion of their expense funding, totaling approximately $1 million. We urge the City Council and the Administration to consider allocating this funding to GreenThumb in light of the proposed cuts.

- Supporting Partnerships for Parks -
Mayor de Blasio and the City Council should add $1 million to the Partnerships for Parks program budget to allow for 10 new Outreach Coordinators, and 5 new Volunteer Program Assistants to be hired. This would double to the outreach staff at Partnerships for Parks, and would allow them to support even more park stewardship groups than ever.

- Investing in Urban Park Rangers -
The city should invest $3 million to hire 50 new Urban Park Rangers. Park Rangers act as ambassadors to our urban ecology and open spaces, and can provide many environmental educational opportunities to the children of NYC through their free programming. We believe an investment in this program is more important than ever.

- Keeping NYC's Street Trees Healthy -
The city should add $2.7 million to bring NYC Parks back to a seven-year pruning, inspection, and stump removal cycle for our street trees. These street trees provide vital ecosystem services, from capturing our stormwater, cleaning our air, cooling our streets, and providing habitat for urban wildlife. It is a safety hazard to let the inspection and tree care cycle go past seven years, and we believe this modest investment will pay dividends in the long term.

- Thinking Big About the Future of our Parks -
We support critical infrastructure projects like Daylighting Tibbets Brook in the Bronx, and visionary parks projects such as BQGreen and the Queensway.




We understand that in these uncertain times, it might be challenging to find the will to prioritize parks and gardens in the city budget. But we believe that our green and open spaces provide critical city infrastructure, from boosting health outcomes, cleaning our air and water, providing spaces for community gathering, civic education, urban agriculture, and making our densely built metropolis feel like a livable city. We urge the Mayor and Council to not lose sight of our precious open space, and to ensure that our public dollars work to make parks, playgrounds, and gardens an asset for New Yorkers across the five boroughs. Thank you.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]
[Your Email]

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