There’s more good news for the city’s parks this week. Following up from an announcement in October last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio along with the city’s Parks Department will likely detail how $150 million will be spent on five city parks in underserved neighborhoods later today, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Here’s what we do know so far: Each of the five parks will get $30 million, and they are Highbridge Park in Washington Heights, Astoria Park in Queens, Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, Freshkills Park on Staten Island, and Saint Mary’s Park in the South Bronx.
The funds will go towards creating new running tracks, hiking trails, soccer fields, and water stations. The renovations and additions will take between three and four years, and could see parts of these parks being shutdown for that stretch. This effort is part of an overall $285 million initiative to revitalize 67 parks across the city through 2019.
Instead of spreading the funds through the city’s 1,953 parks, the de Blasio administration has instead chosen to focus on neighborhoods that don’t have access to the best parks facilities, and giving top priority to those instead of building out several new parks. It’s a marked contrast from the previous administration, the WSJ notes, which saw the construction of pricey new parks like the High Line.
The parks commissioner under Michael Bloomberg, Adrian Benepe however praised the de Blasio administration and told the WSJ that while it may seem unglamorous to revitalize old, existing parks, it’s just as important as creating new green spaces.