Thursday, August 18, 2016


One large park in each borough to receive major capital upgrades like new soccer fields, comfort stations, running tracks, hiking trails

750,000 New Yorkers live within walking distance of these five major parks

   Today at St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver announced that the City will fund $150 million in major improvements at five large parks under the new Anchor Parks initiative. More than 750,000 New Yorkers live within walking distance of the five Anchor Parks, and the new investment will fuel the kind of major amenities needed more in these bigger parks, like new soccer fields, comfort stations, running tracks and hiking trails.

The Mayor and Speaker made the announcement at Saint Mary’s Park in the South Bronx, and were joined by Council Members from the four other anchor parks: Highbridge Park in Manhattan, Betsy Head Park in Brooklyn, Astoria Park in Queens and Freshkills Park on Staten Island.

“New Yorkers deserve to have the greatest parks in the world steps from their homes. That’s why our administration is focused on park equity, which brings fair access to and development of parks across the city. The Anchor Parks program, joined with the Community Parks Initiative and Parks Without Borders, marks another major step in advancing park equity for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“I am proud to be part of a team announcing $150 million in capital improvements coming to parks in all five boroughs,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Outdoor spaces like St. Mary’s Park are great equalizers for our city, and this funding makes it clear that every New Yorker, in every neighborhood, deserves access to quality outdoor spaces. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Council Members Mark Levine and Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for their engaged and collaborative work on the Anchor Parks Initiative and look forward to our continued partnership as we work to ensure every New Yorker in every neighborhood in our City has access to quality, open spaces.”
“We call these sites Anchor Parks because they provide a stabilizing, centering force for the communities they serve by offering larger and more diverse resources than smaller community parks. Now, New Yorkers in all boroughs have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make their older parks new again,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.

Each of the Anchor Parks is slated for $30 million in major improvements. Each was selected based on historical underinvestment, high surrounding population and potential for park development. The Parks Department will commence community outreach beginning this fall to determine which improvements to pursue in each park.

These improvements to larger parks compliment the de Blasio Administration’s Community Parks Initiative, which has targeted more than 60 small neighborhood parks with improvements like new playground equipment, benches, plantings and resurfaced playing courts.

“Many happy hours have been spent playing in Betsy Head Park, enjoying this invaluable recreational space for the children and families of my beloved home of Brownsville,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Unfortunately, this treasured open space – once a crown jewel of the New Deal-era parks renovated in New York City – has been shamefully allowed to deteriorate, depriving underserved families of a safe, comfortable place to play and enjoy the outdoors. Long-awaited capital improvements will dramatically improve the quality of life for Betsy Head Park’s patrons and visitors, many of whom cannot travel elsewhere for recreation, as well as will support my administration’s ongoing efforts to invest resources in neighborhood parks that have historically been neglected.”

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