The newly opened first section of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Tupper Thomas’s pending retirement from Prospect Park have shed a light on Brooklyn parks — in particular the future of how they will be funded. Unfortunately, the future of park funding does not look bright under this administration.
Despite a $3-billion surplus this year, Mayor Bloomberg’s budget allocates only a fraction — just $ 239.1 million — of the money desperately needed to hire the skilled laborers, park enforcement, qualified managers, gardeners and recreation workers among other positions that every neighborhood deserves.
This is a $40-million cut in expense funding from budget from last year. As a percentage of the city’s budget, this would represent only 0.37 percent to maintain and operate parks. It’s a historic low for the agency responsible for 14 percent of the city’s land.
For decades, the public has been told that funding is not available for our public parks. This proposed budget is an unfortunate and constant reminder of how in both good economic times and bad, public funding for parks is simply not a priority. Our elected officials refuse to allocate adequate funding. The political will simply does not exist.