Central Park Gifted $100 Million From Billionaire
By Zachary Stieber On October 23, 2012 @ 9:49 pm In New York City | No Comments
NEW YORK—The Central Park Conservancy received a $100 million gift from hedge fund manager John Paulson Tuesday.
Half of the $100 million will go to the conservancy’s endowment for future upkeep. The other half will principally help with two projects, the restoration of the North Woods, and landscape improvements near Merchant’s Gate, an entrance at the southwestern portion of the park that is the most heavily trafficked entrance.
“This is an extraordinary honor for me to give my support for Central Park,” said Paulson in a video of the event. “For over 150 years, Central Park has been among New York City’s most important cultural institutions, an urban oasis for visitors from all over New York City and from all over the world.”
More than 40 million people visit the park every year, according to the Central Park Conservancy. Since its founding in 1980, the conservancy, a private organization, has helped manage the park, formally assuming most of the operations in 1998.
The conservancy employs 90 percent of the park’s staff and provides 85 percent of the park’s $45.8 million annual expense budget.
The conservancy, mostly through donations such as Paulson’s, has invested more than $600 million into Central Park.
Paulson, a billionaire, said he made the gift for several reasons. One is that he uses the park almost daily himself for walking, running, and bicycling.“This past weekend in the park, I saw babies in carriages, children playing, couples holding hands, dogs running, musicians playing, people jogging [and] cycling, and people from all over the world laughing, talking, and exercising,” he said. “I thought to myself ‘Central Park is a paradise, unlike anywhere else in the world.’”
Paulson owns a large hedge fund company, Paulson & Co. He also recently donated $1 million to Restore Our Future, a super PAC (political action committee) that supports presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
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