Parks are such a vital park of urban living actually any type of living. They create community, they are investments in the local growth around them, the people who live around them tend to be healthier….essentially there is a range of data around the importance of urban parks.
The city has just committed $150M to rebuilding (essentially upgrade) some large parks in underserved communities. That includes sports fields, running tracks, hiking and greenery. A huge win for the community. The majority of this money did not come from the city but from some of the other parks who have raised capital annually from private citizens such as the High Line, Central Park and Prospect Park. Not only are they giving capital to the chosen parks but they are allowing many of the people who work in the well funded parks to spend time in the underserved parks to help train their staff. My guess is many of the donors to those parks are not aware of the deal that was made although it has been written about and it public knowledge. As an annual contributor to the High Line I am ok with this but we need to be more creative about keeping our parks (all of our parks) to the level the community deserves. This is not a permanent solution.
To start, keep in mind that parks are able to operate from the money that is raised as a non-profit organization not because there is a line item in the city budget that pays for this. If you are visiting any of these parks, go to their websites and give. $1 makes a difference. If you think of how many people walk through the parks of NYC on a daily basis those $1’s add up. The parks that are not as organized as Central Park and we should help them figure out how to be creative. Should some of the major companies in the city who are looking for ways to hang their hat on non-profit donations. Perhaps they would be willing to sponsor a park. What could you give them for that? Could the retail shops around the parks be willing to add some dollar donation every time someone buys something?
Parks are a tremendous asset to every single neighborhood they touch. How can we make certain that all of our parks do not fall into disarray because they are being creative about financial funding vs knocking on the doors of the few parks who have figured it out.