Bill Allows Public to ‘adopt a Park’

To Provide Additional Maintenance

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo recently voted to approve legislation to establish a state-level “Adopt-a-Park” program to encourage volunteers to help maintain and improve their hometown parks.

“Providing volunteers with the opportunity to be stewards of our parks throughout New York is a win-win for everyone involved,” explained Addabbo, who wrote the legislation creating the New York City “Adopt-a-Park” program when he served on the City Council. “Families and individuals who visit the parks will reap the benefits of the hard work performed by volunteers, and the volunteers themselves will have the satisfaction of knowing they are making a positive difference in their communities and helping to preserve their environment.”

Under the bill (S.2686), the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will be able to coordinate with municipalities in creating local “adopt-a-park” programs. The parks must be owned by the municipalities, which will then be able to enter into agreements with volunteer organizations to provide maintenance and improvement services.

The OPRHP will provide technical advice and guidance to municipalities and volunteers who participate in the program will not displace any employed park workers or lead to reductions in benefits for employees.

“This program, without taking away jobs from parks’ employees, will help to ensure that local parks are safe, attractive and wonderful places for New York families to enjoy the outdoors,” said Addabbo. “Volunteers may be charged with litter removal, planting flowers, developing and maintaining nature trails, cleaning up litter, repairing vandalism and otherwise improving and celebrating parks throughout New York State.”

The legislation has been approved by both the Senate and Assembly, and will be sent on to the governor for his consideration.