City Releases New Budget with Funding for Prospect Park
July 13, 2022
On July 1, the City began a new budget year, including funding for NYC Parks and Brooklyn’s Backyard. Thanks to the advocacy of community members, the Play Fair Coalition and local elected officials including New York City Council Members Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson, Rita Joseph and Parks Chair Shekar Krishnan, the City has strengthened its commitment to its parks, and in the words of Mayor Eric Adams, made a “down payment” on his pledge for 1% of the City budget for parks.
The Play Fair campaign, which recognizes the importance of properly funding city parks, has worked with its coalition partners, including Prospect Park Alliance, to advocate for more funding for park operations, including maintenance workers, gardeners, Urban Park Rangers and the Parks Enforcement Patrol. In the current $101 billion budget, $624 million has been allocated for Parks, which is the largest parks budget to date.
In Prospect Park, the City and Prospect Park Alliance work hand in hand to care for Brooklyn’s Backyard, with the Alliance taking care of the “green and blue” landscapes (woodlands and waterways), and the City taking the lead in basic maintenance and trash management. In the busy summer months, the Alliance supplements the City’s trash management efforts via a partnership with the non-profit ACE New York, which provides a supplementary crew on peak weekdays and weekends.
“We applaud our local elected officials, and our community, for their advocacy of Prospect Park,” said Prospect Park Alliance Interim President James Snow. “Prospect Park is truly Brooklyn’s Backyard, and welcomes millions of community members each year. Our park thrives through the public-private partnership between the non-profit Alliance and the City, and the partnership would not be possible without our community’s support.”
In addition to operating support, the City budget also includes funding for capital improvements to our parks, recognizing the fact that parks need infrastructure upgrades in addition to basic maintenance to keep these heavily used public spaces safe and accessible for millions of New Yorkers each year.
In Prospect Park, through the support of the community, and the advocacy of our local elected officials, Council Members Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson and Rita Joseph, the City allocated funding for a number of projects to improve the park.
“I’m proud to have worked alongside my Council colleagues to ensure that our Parks Department received the funding it deserved in this budget,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “Our open green spaces are essential to the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers and equitable investments ensure they are accessible to everyone. I’m happy to see that Prospect Park received ample funding for projects like improvements to the lakeshore through this budget and to complement hundreds of thousands of dollars in new funding going to the park through Participatory Budgeting both in mine and neighboring districts.”
“This year’s historic investments in our parks is a formal acknowledgment that green spaces are vital to the wellbeing of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “The funding we secured will go toward keeping our parks safe, clean and beautiful through much-needed infrastructure improvements, including in Brooklyn’s Backyard, Prospect Park––a space that not only offers all of us a place to play, exercise, and rest, but also acts as a critical hub for community building. These investments are crucial, and thanks to the advocacy of Prospect Park Alliance, we won them for our neighbors. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks to maintain investments in Brooklyn’s Backyard and parks across the City.”
“Prospect Park is essential to the neighborhoods I serve both as a community gathering space and a cherished green space that improves our health and well being,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “I am committed to working with our partners at NYC Parks and Prospect Park Alliance to keep Prospect Park thriving, and investing in important projects that will benefit the park and our community.”
“Under the leadership of Speaker Adams and with my Council colleagues, we won a record budget for NYC Parks this year, including resources to maintain beautiful, restorative places like Prospect Park,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “We achieved permanent funding to protect the jobs of hundreds of parks workers that keep our parks clean and safe. We fought to win funding for our natural areas, forestry, and Green Thumb gardens. This is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor to achieve his promise of 1% or $1 billion for parks.”
Lakeshore Improvements: through the advocacy of our community (more than 1,100 community members shared letters of support) and Council Members Hanif, Hudson and Rita Joseph, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and the Brooklyn Delegation allocated $2 million for the restoration of Lakeshore, which will make environmental and accessibility improvements along the shoreline of the Prospect Park Lake. This support leveraged an additional $1 million from the Mayor, for a total of $3 million in funding toward our $20 million goal. This funding will enable us to create a master plan and execute a portion of the restoration, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for funding in future budget cycles to fund the full project.
Parade Ground Field 9: Through discretionary funding from Council Member Joseph, $800,000 was allocated for the restoration of Field 9, a heavily used turf field in the Parade Ground. This allocation, in addition to a $700,000 allocation by former Council Member Mathieu Eugene in a previous budget cycle, will enable us to kick off this $1.5 million project, and contribute greatly to the communities who rely on this field for recreation.
Parkside Entrance Pergola: Council Member Joseph also allocated $750,000 for the restoration of a historic pergola at the Parkside Entrance. This is the final piece in the restoration of this entrance, which will also be home to a monument of Shirley Chisholm.
Willink Comfort Station: Council Member Hudson allocated $500,000 toward the $4 million restoration of the Willink Comfort Station, a historic facility at the entrance to the park near the Carousel (where Flatbush meets Empire Boulevard) that has not been restored in over 50 years and needs a full restoration plus mechanical upgrade. We look forward to continuing to advocate for full funding of this project.
Esdale Bridge: Through District 39 Participatory Budgeting, Council Member Hanif allocated $500,000 for the restoration of this historic rustic bridge, which connects the Long Meadow to the Ravine (at the pathway that traverses the Long Meadow from the Picnic House).
Pathway Lighting (Center Drive to Long Meadow Ballfields): Through District 40 Participatory Budgeting, Council Member Joseph allocated $130,000 to add new lighting along a woodland pathway that connects Center Drive at the Nethermead to the Long Meadow Ballfields.