De Blasio administration invests $130 million to rebuild low-income community parks

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Dave Evans has the story. (WABC)

The de Blasio administration has invested $130 million into a new initiative to recreate 35 parks in low-income communities, the mayor announced Tuesday at Bowne Park in Queens, one of the sites to be rebuilt.

Around 220,000 New Yorkers living within a 10-minute walk of targeted parks will benefit from the Community Parks Initiative (CPI).

CPI is part of a bigger plan framed by NYC Parks to increase the accessibility, quality, amenities and maintenance of New York City's parks across the five boroughs.

"From children and parents to athletes and students, every New Yorker deserves access to clean and safe public parkland-no matter what neighborhood they live in," de Blasio said. "The Community Parks Initiative reaffirms our administration's commitment to the creation and maintenance of vibrant parks and public spaces in all five boroughs. Through targeted investments and programming, we will engage New Yorkers by re-creating parks in communities that need open space improvements the most. This is a framework that will address system-wide needs for park equity with solutions that have lasting and resilient results for our city's neighborhoods."

Other perks of the plan include new Park Department-staffed recreational programs for kids, mobile fitness classes and programs to promote healthy living and active lifestyles.

CPI will also create more than 70 new jobs in park maintenance, horticulture and recreational programming. There were will also be 15 new permanent design jobs and 14 open outreach, planning and other support staff positions.

"Thanks to Mayor de Blasio's vision for a more equitable and innovative park system, we are creating a bright, green future for New York City's parks," Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. "We will work to invest in communities with the greatest need and to create thriving public spaces to enhance the livability of under-resourced neighborhoods. The elements of this framework will rest on the foundations of targeted capital investment, strong community partnerships, new programming, and dedicated maintenance. We are confident that good park development is essential to the growth of a truly 21st Century parks system."

As a part of the plan, NYC Parks will try to engage community stakeholders such as "Friends of" groups and agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection to help advocate for the parks.

"The Community Parks Initiative is a great example of how collaboration among City agencies gives New Yorkers the biggest bang for their buck," said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. "In this case, DEP will invest dollars that will improve the quality of our waterways for all New Yorkers and provide important amenities to communities that need them the most."

Many are applauding Mayor de Blasio for the new plan, emphasizing the need for a more equitable park system to make up for years of under-investment in low-income communities.

"I commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Silver on this plan to redistribute resources to ensure that parks in low-income communities receive equitable funding to address infrastructure and programmatic needs," said Public Advocate Letitia James. "The rehabilitation of neglected parks and playgrounds is instrumental in the fight against childhood obesity and other health issues prevalent in dense, low-income communities."

For additional information on the Community Parks Initiative, please visit NYC.Gov/parks.

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