By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
The Play Fair coalition – consisting of DC 37 locals, parks advocates, elected officials and even the Girl Scouts of New York – returned to City Hall May 14 to keep the pressure on lawmakers to increase funding for Parks maintenance by $100 million in FY 2020 budget.
As budget negotiations continue between the two sides of City Hall, Play Fair activists continue to call for sustained, baselined funding for 100 City Parks Workers and 50 Gardeners, tree stump removal, and extending the beach and pool season.
“One-shot deals do NOT go far enough!” warned DC 37 and Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I. “The city has spent millions designing and building new parks and needs to invest in maintaining them.”
“It’s insane that for six years we keep asking to baseline 150 Parks workers’ jobs,” said Local 1505 President Dilcy Benn. “Baselining these jobs would finally bring economic security and stability to these workers and their families.”
Among the elected officials pressing the mayor to do more for Parks were City Council members Robert Holden and Costa Constantinides.
Adding $100 million in funds to Parks would fund vital Parks services:
- $10 million to baseline permanent jobs for 100 City Park Workers (CPWs) and 50 Gardeners.
- $6 million for 80 new Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) Officers at public pools and beaches.
- $47 million to maintain and protect 48 of the largest parks.
- $18 million to maintain neighborhood parks.
- $3 million for 50 new Urban Park Rangers for Parks education and safety.
- $4 million for urban forestry to address climate change.
The Parks Dept. manages 30,000 acres, or 14 percent, New York City land. Yet the city budget only allocates .059 percent, or about $550 million to Parks.
“It’s is unacceptable and an embarrassment,” said Constantinides. “New York can and should do better.”
DC 37 represents CPWs, Gardeners, PEP Officers, Urban Park Rangers, City Seasonal Aides, Associate Park Service Workers, Motor Vehicle Operators, Lifeguards and their Supervisors, Climbers and Pruners, and Uniformed Park Supervisors who keep parks clean and safe year round.