Who works in Marine Park? Many people have questioned me about the level of care our park receives because Marine Park Alliance brings in hundreds of volunteers to help them. Labor Day is the perfect time to describe the basic structure of the Parks Department workers in this park. Here’s what I understand:
Marine Park operates as a fixed post within Parks Department’s District 18/Community Board 18. The norm for a large park is that there is a cadre of maintenance staff that deal with the physical park — that includes these 16 critical tasks to keep the park clean and safe. They have a few vehicles of which there is usually one working and occasionally all are out of service. When special projects come up or additional help is needed, staff and vehicles from the rest of the district are called in, a borough-wide crew helps with the mowing, and occasionally the borough gardeners come by. Marine Park also receives the generous assistance of Central Park Conservancy, who brought in their turf experts to assist and train Parks staff on machinery. A park manager and a seasonal supervisor from the district oversee the maintenance of the park. The manager’s office is in Canarsie Park.
Marine Park is different from the norm. We are incredibly lucky to have a Marine Park Director, Margot Perron, who comes with many years of experience with parks-related non-profit organizations. Ms. Perron made the connection for us with Central Park Conservancy and has strengthened our connections with City Parks Foundation and other funding sources. She assists the Salt Marsh Alliance and Gerritsen Beach Cares in addition to Marine Park Alliance. She has been a wonderful convener of all the nonprofits who work in or care about this park. With Ms. Perron’s guidance, we created the Forever Wild Committee that removed a green wall of vines on Avenue U so we can see the water this park was named after, created a landscape management plan with NYC Parks, and installed bird collision protection on the Nature Center. Most recently we created a Community Committee that’s working on painting arrows on the oval path to keep people moving in the right direction. Ms. Perron also helped us design and produce the park map and calendar of which a new issue will be out in the park in September. She helps us message to you all the great things and important information about the park on our many online platforms. With her advice and critical eye, she has made it possible for us to hire our first two part-time staff members! These are things that Parks Department has never been able to do for us before, so we at Marine Park Alliance have nothing but gratitude for Park Director Margot Perron. Her leadership, guidance, and support has changed Marine Park for the better.
This past year I joined the Parks and Open Space Coalition and learned that Marine Park’s 798 acres has a similar staffing level to the 30-acre Fort Greene Park. We believe at Marine Park Alliance that our park this largest park — the largest park in Brooklyn — needs is a full hierarchy dedicated to this park, rather than stretched to cover all Community Board 18’s many, many parks of varying sizes. With our new part-time positions, we have begun to help with staffing in that way. There’s so much needed to make NYC Parks regard this regional park as a flagship destination deserving of more resources. If you’d like to help advocate for the park, please sign up for our email list or make a donation to help us continue this important work.
Maria Carro-D’Alessandro, Board Chair