New York Fails to Document Parks Inequality

A law passed unanimously by New York's City Council just four years ago requiring the Department of Parks and Recreation to document "how much money was flowing into different parks across the city" is being neglected, reveals Jacob Hodes.
August 28, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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While Los Angeles launches an initiative designed to help reduce the inequality of its parks, New York is moving in the opposite direction. At least that's the sense one gets from the failure of the city's parks department to comply with a law meant to address concerns that, "its parks system was splitting in two: in wealthy areas of the city, gleaming, innovative green spaces, buttressed by private financing sources; elsewhere, ailing parks with far fewer resources at their disposal."

Local Law 28, which was passed unanimously by the City Council in 2008 and praised by the parks department, "required the Department of Parks and Recreation of New York City to prepare an annual report that would detail, park by park, the contributions of nonprofits and other private donors."

"Yet the most recent report from the parks department, on the 2010 fiscal year, falls far short of the law's requirements," writes Hodes.

"'It doesn't reflect a real effort to comply with the law,' Alan J. Gerson, a former councilman who sat on the parks committee in 2008, said."

"'Whether it's for schools, or parks or any public place, the public should know where the private money is coming from and what it's buying. It's basic good government,' Mr. Gerson, a Manhattan Democrat, said."

"That's what we wanted to establish," he said.

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Published on Sunday, August 26, 2012 in The New York Times
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