The Central Park Conservancy, the organization that oversees the management of the eponymous park, has announced an ambitious $300 million fundraising goal to carry out vital restoration and longterm repair work at the park, the New York Times reports. Already the organization has raised $112 million of those funds, in large part due to a $25 million contribution from the Thompson Family Foundation (Wade Thompson’s family).
"For 35 years, the Central Park Conservancy has worked in close partnership with the City of New York, and so many great New Yorkers, to save, stabilize, rebuild and care for Central Park," Douglas Blonsky, the CEO of the Conservancy, said in a statement. "With decades of essential Conservancy investment in the Park and its once-severely decayed infrastructure, we believe the time is right for a cultural renaissance for Central Park."
A large part of that effort will be preserving the designs of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux particularly in the North Woods and The Ramble, where work is already underway. The Park’s many arches and bridges will also be restored.
Other prominent structures in the Park set to receive repairs include the Belvedere Castle, the Conservatory Garden, the Ravine, and the Naumberg Bandshell. Known as Forever Green: Ensuring the Future of Central Park, this fundraising effort has in large part been a result of the tremendous increase in visitors to the Park. The numbers have gone up from just 12 million in 1981 to 42 million annually today, and the Park essentially been a "victim of its own success," as the Times describes it.
Just four years ago, the conservancy received a $100 million gift courtesy of hedge fund manager John A. Paulson, and now this most recent push has some critics wondering whether Central Park is being favored over other vital parks projects across the city. But in response, supporters of the efforts have cited the conservancy’s almost constant reliance on private funds, and also pointed to recent efforts undertaken by the de Blasio administration to fund the upkeep of Parks in underserved areas.