We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a testimonial to this budget hearing of the NYC Council’s Parks Committee.
My name is Karen Eichel, and I serve on the board of Marine Park Alliance. The Alliance is a non-profit organization that assists NYC Parks with a mission to provide cultural, environmental and volunteer programming in Marine Park for the health and well-being of all New Yorkers.
We wholeheartedly support the 1% for Parks campaign and we are acutely aware of the specific needs in Marine Park. The system of leadership for NYC Parks flagship or regional parks varies from borough to borough. We have learned from the Parks Department’s website and attendance at the Parks and Open Space Partners meetings that most boroughs have significantly more Park Administrators, often with dual capacities and support teams overseeing nonprofits, while Brooklyn only has one.
Many nonprofit organizations concerned with Brooklyn's largest park, which is Marine Park, notice the current lack of leadership dedicated to this regional greenspace. There is no Parks Department Administrator nor a support team for community engagement assigned to Marine Park.
According to NYC Parks, the agency’s 20 Park Administrators are assigned citywide as follows:
Manhattan has seven, Queens has five, The Bronx has four, Staten Island has three, and Brooklyn has just one.
Let that sink in. Despite having a larger number of residents than all other boroughs, Brooklyn has just one Park Administrator, and it is NOT for Brooklyn's largest park. Moreover, many of these parks are surrounded by wealth, and Marine Park is not.
When the City does get closer to 1% for the Parks Department budget, we do hope you’ll consider funding an administrative team in Southern Brooklyn to solve this problem of inequity, or perhaps moving one away from a well-to-do park that is surrounded by wealth to one that is not, such as Marine Park.
Marine Park Alliance