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Queens councilmen celebrate $25 million in funding for city Parks Department

Flushing Meadows Corona Park will receive additional staffing along with other city parks thanks to $25 million in Play Fair funds. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Avila/NYC Parks)

Two Queens councilmen who represent districts that are separated by Flushing Meadows Corona Park played key roles the allocation of $25 million in Play Fair funds for the city Parks Department, which will be used to hire essential parks staff in all five boroughs.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, city parks provided essential outdoor space to New Yorkers who were pent up indoors during the lockdown. The new funding will make parks cleaner, safer and more accessible year round.

“Parks are essential to keeping New York City healthy,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, chair of the Finance Committee. “They are special places where folks can recreate, play and just relax. NYC needs this now more than ever. I am proud to support the $25 million in Play Fair funds that we included in the budget. It shows that having well-maintained, beautiful and safe parks will help bring NYC back from the ravages of the pandemic.”

The $25 million will be put toward the de Blasio administration’s goal of creating and maintaining safe, clean and equitable green spaces for every single New Yorker.

“Our local parks saw a record number of visitors over the past year as residents sought fresh air and respite during a historic pandemic,” said Councilman Peter Koo, chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “Parks became essential to New Yorkers, and parks employees served as frontline workers who were asked to do more with less.”

Koo added that the $25 million allocation is not only an investment in the city’s critical infrastructure, but it’s also a huge step toward the city’s recovery.

“I stand with the Play Fair Coalition and advocates in support of our parks and thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and Chair Dromm for prioritizing our parks and green spaces in this year’s budget,” Koo said.

Helping to advance this mission, NYC Parks hired an additional 2,500 workers as part of the City Cleanup Corps. The agency is currently recruiting and looking to fill its newly funded positions.

“Our city’s recovery is in full swing, and we are grateful to the mayor and the City Council for this $25 million Play Fair allocation, facilitating the hiring of over 340 parks staff,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. “As we emerge from the pandemic, this funding gives us the resources we need to remain steadfast in our commitment to providing equitable access to quality parks and green spaces for all New Yorkers.”

To apply for a position at NYC Parks, visit its website here.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the pandemic confirmed how essential the city’s park systems is “to our mental and physical well-being.”

“As we emerge from the pandemic, I am proud to support these urban oases so they can continue to be a place of healing and sanctuary for all New Yorkers. I thank my colleagues on the Council for making parks a priority in this year’s budget, particularly Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm and Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Peter Koo,” Johnson said. “This Council looks forward to continuing working with Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Silver in making our parks greener and more fun for all New Yorkers.”

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