This post from A Walk in the Park Blog was published just before the appointment which happened today:
Mitchell Silver is the City’s new Parks Commissioner
By Geoffrey Croft
An ex-planner, with a reputation for working with communities will be appointed By Mayor Bill De Blasio to head the City’s Parks Department later today.
Mitchell Silver, a Brooklyn native, was formerly the chief planning and development officer for Raleigh, N.C. and former head of the American Planning Association. Prior to that he was deputy planning director in Washington, D.C.
Silver has taught at Hunter College, where he got his master’s degree in urban planning.
Silver also co-authored Local Planning: Contemporary Principles, the primary textbook for the profession’s main licensing exam.
He met his wife, Mary Singleterry at Pratt Institute.
Mr. Silver was hired by WE ACT to help faciliate the design process for the redevelopment of the Harlem Piers at 125th Street. Community access to the waterfront in Harlem was created from a former Fairway parking lot and is now a heavily ulized open space.
“Mr. Community engagement”
A parks commissioner known for community-based planning and consultation will be sharp departure from the Bloomberg Administration which was known for having an often contentious relationship with critics and promoted a number of controversial policies and projects.
The current administration is facing a number of controversial Bloomberg-era park policies; The building a high-end restaurant in Union Square Park, the seizing of more than 47 acres on Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park to build a mall; Allowing the commercial take-over of Damroach Park in Lincoln Center, Using the Bronx waterfront for Fresh Direct instead of for open space, and installing housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park to name just a few.
The agency is also facing chronic underfunding and a number of privatization policies left over from the previous administration.
Deputy commissioner Liam Kavanagh who has been running the day-to-day operations of the agency since former Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe was let go in 2012 was in Brooklyn last night attending a meeting in Brighton Beach on the controversial comfort stations.
Mayor de Blasio Poised To Appoint Mitchell Silver Parks Commissioner, New York Daily News, March 20, 2014
De Blasio to name parks commissioner Crain’s New York Business, March 20, 2014
Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:
Choosing the De Blasio Administration Parks Commissioner February 12, 2014
Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office