Mark your calendars …
We want money allocated for Parks in our city.
There has been a 70 percent reduction in personnel at Parks across the City. (What is the real reason the Parks Department loves artificial turf? It doesn’t need weeding by hand – by people.) We want wonderful parks streaming across the five boroughs but we also want OVERSIGHT of what happens at and to those parks.
The Parks Department is an agency of the Mayor’s office. The people only have their say when it’s budget time and are given a chance to come before the NY City Council. Otherwise, we have virtually no leverage. The place where the City Council DOES have oversight (although I would argue they could exhibit a bit more of a hands-on approach vis legislation and hearings) is over the Parks Department budget. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has proven that he won’t listen to the people. He’s expert at extending the Mayor’s privatization schemes, removing the grass and replacing it with the controversial artificial turf, selling off park land to corporate interests, and enabling the wealthy to buy the right to put their names on pools, tennis courts, fountains and benches. It’s like “Official Graffiti” — not carved in with a chisel or pen, but screwed into place with a screwdriver and hammer.
The Parks Department has allocated between $25 and $30 million for the smashup of Washington Square Park — almost double what had originally been proposed.
The NY City Council can call for Oversight Hearings and budget reviews. Read previous entry on the problems with the lack of oversight of the Parks Department.
The City Council is set to review the preliminary Parks Department budget on Wednesday, March 19th. It’s a chance for people to have their say about what we think is wrong and what can be improved. Plan to be at City Hall on March 19th at 1 p.m. (11:30 to hear from the Parks Department!) In the meantime, write to your City Council person about this issue.
PARKS DEPARTMENT PRELIMINARY BUDGET HEARINGS
hosted by Parks & Recreation Committee of New York City Council
Wednesday, March 19th
11:30 a.m. Parks & Recreation Department presents Preliminary Budget to City Council followed by City Council member comments
1:30 p.m. PUBLIC COMMENT
@ New York City Hall – Committee Room
(trains: 4,5,6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall, J/M/Z to Chambers Street.)
Note: This is the PRELIMINARY budget – Final Budget hearings are in May.