NEW YORK—The city’s parks are slightly cleaner and safer, according to a new survey by New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P).
The 43 parks surveyed within five boroughs scored a B+ on average in 2012, up from a B the year prior.
The survey grades New York City’s large parks (20 to 500 acres) on 11 key features including: athletic fields, bathrooms, drinking fountains, playgrounds, sitting areas, and trees. Each feature is evaluated for cleanliness, maintenance, safety, and structural integrity.
The survey gave 88 percent of parks grades in the A to B range, three scored a C, and one received a D. The latest results are an improvement from 2011, when 80 percent of parks received a grade in the range of A to B.
“This is encouraging news,” Holly Leicht, executive director of NY4P, stated in a press release. “However, when you scratch below the surface, it’s clear that the Parks Department has been ensnared in a property management version of “Whac-A-Mole”: they fix one problem, and another emerges elsewhere. The pie just isn’t big enough.”
The report states that although the overall state of the parks has improved, specific conditions in many parks still exists and in many cases are getting worse.
NY4P recommended that the city increase efforts to continuously maintain its parks in cooperation with volunteer efforts, replace deteriorating equipment, and initiate a broader urban planning strategy.
Suggestions from the NY4P are routinely used by the city’s Parks Department in “identifying citywide needs,” the press release stated.
“I commend New Yorkers for Parks on this valuable inventory of one our city’s most important public resources,” stated New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito in a press release. “It’s critical that we stay committed to strengthening our parks, especially in this time of austerity and budget cuts. Healthier parks mean a healthier New York.”
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