The city is doubling its financial commitment in an effort to revamp parks in low-income communities across the five boroughs with a $285 million commitment through 2019, the mayor and parks department announced Tuesday.
But a new report by research and advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks finds that poverty does not necessarily mean lack of access to green space.
“It’s very interesting, some of the highest poverty areas have above access to parkland, and others have less [access] in low poverty districts,” said Tupper Thomas of New Yorkers for Parks, which released the numbers last week. “It keeps going back and forth and these are the areas we should be concentrating on and looking at — more access to open space.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver announced the additional funding for the Community Parks Initiative on Tuesday. The city is investing a total of $285 million in capital dollars through 2019 to recreate 67 total parks. There were 12 new sites announced on Tuesday, and an additional 20 parks will be added to the list over the next three years. The city previously announced 35 parks would receive fudning for much-needed improvements.
The 2015 City Council District Profiles ranks all 51 council districts on parkland acreage, walking distance and poverty.
By poverty breakdown, Council District 14 — which includes the Fordham, Kingsbridge, Morris Heights, West Bronx and University Heights neighborhoods — has the highest amount of children on public assistance, but ranks number one in access. The 56 acres of parkland makes up 5 percent of the district.
Walton Park in District 14 is included in the list of new parks, and Councilman Fernando Cabrera said the resources are both “timely and necessary.”
By contrast, Council District 4, which has the lowest poverty rate and includes the Upper East Side, Grand Central and Stuyvesant Town, is just 2 percent parkland, and 49 percent of residents are within walking distant of a park.
The most New Yorkers within a 5 minute walk of parks is Council District 9, and the least is Council District 51.
Council District 6 on the Upper West Side has the highest percentage of visitable parkland and playground at 42 percent, and Council District 45, which emcompasses Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie, has the least at 1 percent.
“In neighborhoods where so few parks are available yet totally accessible, what a shame that is,” Thomas said. “They don’t meet the need, and people will keep using them anyway.”
The 12 parks set for consturction are:
- Walton Park, University Heights
- Black Rock Playground, Unionport
- Ogden Plimpton Playground, High Bridge
- Lt. Joseph Petrosino Park, Bensonhurst
- Epiphany Playground, Williamsburg
- Lafayette Playground, Gravesend
- Newport Playground, Brownsville
- Bergen Beach Playground, Bergen Beach
- Bloomingdale Playground, Manhattan Valley
- Playground Thirty Five XXXV, Astoria
- Astoria Health Playground, Astoria
- Stapleton Playground, Stapleton