The Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition brings together local stakeholders who seek to foster community-based stewardship by providing a voice for all who love the park and the communities it serves. With community input, we solve problems, offer positive solutions, and preserve the vital role the park plays in our lives.
DANIEL SQUADRON SENATOR, 26TH DISTRICT THE SENATE STATE OF NEW YORK
Prepared Testimony of State Senator Daniel Squadron to New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation Regarding the Parks Department’s Community Parks Initiative November 5, 2014
My name is Daniel Squadron, and I represent the 26th District in the New York State Senate. My district includes the Manhattan neighborhoods of Tribeca, Battery Park City, the Lower East Side, Chinatown, the Financial District, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, SoHo and the East Village and the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Vinegar Hill, DUMBO, Fulton Ferry, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. I thank Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine for convening today’s hearing on the Community Parks Initiative, and for the opportunity to testify.
The Community Parks Initiative’s focus on local, neighborhood parks goes to the heart of what it means to talk about equity in the parks system. Real credit is due to the Parks Department for identifying the neighborhoods to begin CPI, including some in my district: Luther Gulick Park, and Sol Lain and Henry M. Jackson playgrounds on the Lower East Side.
But, today, CPI is still only in 35 parks. We know the Parks Department has identified more than 200 additional parks with a real need.
It is critical that the Parks Department expand upon CPI’s important and impressive foundation, with a goal to reach even more parks and communities in need over time. Doing that successfully requires keeping the parks equity push going. It requires a continued focus on inequities in the system, as well as a greater overall investment in the public parks budget, which commands just over one half of one percent of the City’s budget.
As I have long said, the way to do that is to continue to change the dynamic around the way parks are funded. This year’s discussion of parks funding and equity has been robust, with real leadership from the Mayor, Commissioner Silver, Chair Levine, and the City Council.
But we must create a dynamic that will continue over the long term. In 2001 we had the 1% For Parks campaign, but it died out and wasn’t really replaced until last year, an inadvertent consequence of the success of some of the wealthiest conservancies. In some of the most powerful and wealthiest parts of the city, the local parks are doing better than ever – to the great credit and generosity of donors and the effectiveness of the conservancies. But as a result, the disinvestment in the parks system is invisible in some of the most powerful parts of the city. It’s hard to get excited about a campaign to nearly double the parks budget to one percent when your local park is doing so well.
I am continuing to work with the Mayor, Commissioner Silver, Chair Levine, advocates, and the conservancies to expand the structural impact of the Community Parks Initiative, by ensuring the conservancies play a meaningful role long into the future, which the conservancies have expressed a real openness to.
Whatever final form it takes, participation by the conservancies must fundamentally link them and their patrons, to the overall system. This year we had the parks equity push. In 2001, we had the 1% For Parks campaign. It is critical that the stakeholders and this committee work together to ensure that the parks equity push is not something that comes up every twelve years, but something that comes up every year until the crisis is solved.
This year’s conversations, including those with the conservancies, have helped to change the dynamic, and I am hopeful that, at the end of this year, we will have a fundamentally different structure that ensures the dynamic is changed going forward.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Free talk by Commissioner Silver on:
PRATT INSTITUTE | MEMORIAL HALL AUDITORIUM
200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12 20146:00 PM — 8:00 PM
A recent article in the Village Voice on Rivington House. Electeds sent letter to state urging them to allow Rivington House to operate as a nursing home especially for low-income neighbors who’ve already lost Cabrini and Bialystoker.
Michael Chavez Reilly who wrote a moving Op-Ed about his father’s experience in Rivington House standing with Bob Humber (Coordinator of the Elizabeth Hubbard Memorial Garden and Co-Head Gardener of M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden).
Community Board 3 passed a resolution in support of a nursing home facility (unanimously):
7. Update on Rivington House sale
VOTE: Title: Community Board 3 Resolution to Support Converting Rivington House to a General
Nursing Home with Maximum Beds, Accessible to All in the Community
WHEREAS, Community Board 3, Manhattan values its community facilities that serve our
community, especially the underserved who are most vulnerable, and
WHEREAS,in the last few years, CB 3 has lost its nursing homes, namely Cabrini with its 240
beds and Bialystoker with its 95 beds, comprising a total of 335 nursing home beds lost, and
WHEREAS, Community Board 3 appreciates Rivington House’s (“RH”) service to patients with
AIDS needing skilled nursing services in a skilled nursing facility, but has learned from RH that
it is closing its facility, which will result in the loss of an additional 219 beds in our community,
WHEREAS, Community Board 3 believes that people without the financial or other ability to
receive home care, and in need of both short term and long term care, should be able to
remain in their community, supported by friends and family, and
WHEREAS, CB 3 believes that nursing home care should be available to all in the community in
need of such care, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status or any other reason, so
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that CB 3 supports the conversion of RH beds to general nursing
home beds available to those needing nursing home care, including people with AIDS needing
skilled or specialized care, and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that CB 3 also supports allowing the maximum
number of nursing homes beds (219 beds) in the new nursing home facility that will replace
Rivington House, and
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that CB 3 supports all nursing home beds being made available to all in the community in need of such services, regardless of their ability to pay,
insurance status, or any other reason.
We held a great IMPD – thanks everyone who helped out. We raked, pruned, painted cleaned the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden with Bob, Debra, Diana, Kevin, Carol, Elizabeth, James, K, Jin Xiu, Steve, Jim, Joe, Turi, Ted, Kate, and NYU and many other volunteers whose names I don’t have! Thank you New Museum for donating the paint! (for chairs created by a New Museum project). Thank you Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition Prez and Vice Prez’s (K Webster, Debra Jeffreys-Glass and Jin Xiu Chen) for pre-organizing. Thanks Stanton Street CSA & Kevin and Diana for food donations.
We also cleared out the Hua Mei Bird Sanctuary South of Delancey Street with James, Jin Xiu, Steve and K (with a little help from Kirsti!).
Thank you everyone for helping make the day a success!
We were pleased to have a visit from City Parks Foundation’s new Executive Director Heather Lubov (far right) and Sabina Saragoussi, Director, Partnerships for Parks (middle left) speaking with Debra Jeffreys -Glass Co-Chair of M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden (center) and her friend Laura (far left). They were invited by Kirsti Bambridge our local Partnerships for Parks angel…
The speed limit is changing to 25 MPH on November 7th, 2014
Drivers who drive 25 MPH or slower are better able to avoid crashes.
Pedestrians who are struck by vehicles traveling at 25 MPH are half as likely to die as those who are struck by vehicles going at thirty MPH.
BOWERY MISSION – FOOD DRIVE
The Mission is in urgent need of: pasta, rice, condiments, pasta sauce, canned vegetables, beans.
Food items above can be dropped off at
- CB3 Office 59th Street M-F 9am-6pm Nov. 3rd – 21st
or Bowery Mission 227 Bowery 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
DDC: Forsyth Streetscape and Plaza Reconstruction Project:
CB Transportation & Public Safety/Environment Committee
University Settlement/Houston Street Center 273 Bowery
November 6, 2014 6:30pm
Join the Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition and the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden for
It’s My Park Day this Saturday from 12pm – 4pm. Meet at the Garden gate at Rivington Street (in the park)
Here is the list of things to do that we came up for IMPD:
IMPD 2014 Saturday 12pm -4pm on October 18th Jin Xiu, Bob, K
Activities and locations:
Rivington to Stanton:
Water and mulch newly planted trees
Aerate tree pit soil with a garden fork.
Paint chairs in garden
Paint tables on west side of garden
Weed along west side of garden
Prune in garden
Sweep, rake and clean up garden
Hua Mei Bird Sanctuary (south of Delancey):
mulching, pruning, removing weeds and trash, planting bulbs.
From the NYTimes:
“Mr. Gibbs and his portable garden were such a presence that he was known as the Flower Man and residents still call the patch of concrete where he operated Sonny’s Corner. It was a bright spot in front of the Lincoln Houses, a public housing community where residents complain of mold in their apartments and the stench of urine in hallways.
But this spring, New York City told Mr. Gibbs that he had to pack up his roses, daisies and biggest sellers, his potted plants. As it turns out, for more than a decade, he had no legal right to be there. Mr. Gibbs — who is long on adages but short on paperwork, like a permit — got by for years with little trouble beyond the occasional summons. But the parks department began strictly enforcing a law prohibiting a business from operating on parkland without formal approval.”
We’ve removed entire parks so that stadiums filled with corporate boxes can be built in their place -all while giving huge tax breaks to wealthy owners. All ‘legal’. And please don’t speak of ‘lost revenue’ – it insults our intelligence.
Nike has entire offices filled with people who will file their permits and ensure their entree into our parks. Sonny Gibbs, being poor and Black may not have been afforded that kind of wherewithal in this current society- but he does a hell of a lot more good with the wherewithal he has.
This man is bringing a bit of human goodness to that park. He is part of the resilient efforts we need more of in this city. Hands off.
Help The Bowery Mission Replenish It’s Pantry! From BoweryBoogie
UPDATE (as of 4:27pm September 22): We are still in need of pasta, rice, beans, grains, as well as canned vegetables, sauces, and condiments.
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