Jessica Lappin on Parks

Jessica Lappin for City Council

Jessica Lappin

Part 1 – Yes/No Questions

1. Maintenance

a. Will you work toward committing at least 1% of the overall city budget to the Parks Department’s expense budget over the course of your term? YES. The Parks Department budget has been cut significantly and consistently over the years. The city has to reverse this trend by allocating the funding that is necessary to maintain our open spaces.
     > If so, would you dedicate revenue earned through park concessions to parks maintenance and operations, without simultaneous decreases in baseline funding? YES. Yes. I also believe that the city should explore creative options for expanding parks concessions in unobtrusive ways.
b. Will you establish objective, publicly accessible maintenance standards for all park properties in all five boroughs? YES. While public-private partnerships have proved effective for some of the city’s well known parks, many smaller parks in low-income neighborhoods are suffering from neglect.
c. Will you provide in your Mayor’s Management Report park ratings by borough and community board in addition to the citywide level? The Mayor’s Management Report should rank our parks by borough, community board, and at the citywide level.
     > Will you make the official Parks Department “property list” that specifically delineates all 1,700 properties available online? Yes. New Yorkers should be able to access that information easily and online.
     > Will you make publicly available details of the private funding that helps to maintain and operate many of our public parks? YES

2. Capital

  • Will you require that every capital parks project be accompanied by a plan for ongoing maintenance and/or funding? YES. The city has a financial obligation to maintain our parks and other city-owned facilities.

3. Crime

a. Will you support legislation that requires regular NYPD reports to the City Council on crime in parks (ie. Intro. 470)? YES. Tracking crime in our parks will give us another useful tool to help keep New Yorkers safe.
b. Will you work toward making parkland part of the city’s CompStat system? YES

4. Alienation

  • Will you support more laws that require public notification and input when a park will be used for non-park purposes, to afford parks the protection they need from development or use by other agencies? YES. There is so little parkland in our city that we have to do whatever we can to protect and maintain our open spaces.

5. Open Space/Natural Areas

  • Will you work toward creating, with significant community involvement, a comprehensive open space plan that will guide the overall acquisition, restoration, improvement, and maintenance of parks, natural areas, playgrounds and athletic facilities in the five boroughs? YES. When it comes to our parks and playgrounds, our elected officials should engage in some long-term urban planning to protect and expand our open spaces and recreational facilities.

Part 2 – Open Questions

1. Maintenance

a. What specific actions would you take to ensure that every park in every neighborhood has green ball fields, working water fountains and open bathrooms?
"As a Councilmember, I would create an inventory of the capital needs of the parks in my district. I will continue to work closely with community leaders, neighborhood associations and parks advocates to ensure that these capital needs are met."
How would you fund your actions?

"On both a local and citywide level, I would work with my colleagues to secure capital funding for our parks and recreational facilities."
b. What would be your plan to move from roaming crews to fixed crews for parks maintenance?

"I would advocate for roaming crews to be hired as fixed crews for parks maintenance."
c. What funding / programs would you use to increase the full-time parks maintenance staff?

"I support increased funding for the Parks Department and the establishment of a dedicated revenue stream for parks."

2. Recreation & Youth Programming

· What specific actions would you take to revitalize the recreational and amateur sports programs that have been decimated by years of budget cuts?

"As City Council Speaker Gifford Miller’s Chief of Staff, I helped secure funding for the East 54th Street Recreational Center, the John Jay Bathhouse, and the Roosevelt Island Youth Center. These public facilities are heavily utilized by New Yorkers of all ages for sports and recreational activity. As a Councilmember, I will continue to support these types of facilities across the City."
· What specific actions would you take to enable a much higher level of collaboration among the Parks Dept., Dept. of Youth & Community Development and the Dept. of Education?
"I would actively participate in discussions with the Parks Department, the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Department of Education to improve collaboration amongst those agencies."

3. Olympics

· If NYC is awarded the Olympics in 2012 or 2016, what specific actions would you take to ensure that parks that are changed, altered or improved as Olympic venues are properly funded and maintained after the Olympics are finished?
"Although New York City was not awarded the Olympics in 2012, New York may well be in contention for the games in 2016. If New York decides to move forward with a future Olympic bid, we must develop a plan to care for our City’s parks during and after the games. I would advocate for the establishment of a trust fund for our parks that would receive financial support from corporations and from the proceeds of the games. Such a fund would provide a long-term dedicated revenue stream for the ongoing maintenance of special Olympic facilities and for open park space used during the games."

4. Community Gardens

· What specific actions would you take to reduce the cost of the annual insurance premiums that community gardeners must pay?
"Community gardens play an important role in the life of a neighborhood. The caretakers of these urban oases are community heroes. It would be a tragedy if any community garden had to lock its gate because of the high costs of insurance premiums. As a Councilmember, I would advocate for a Task Force of community garden advocates, insurance experts and City officials to devise an innovative strategy to preserve our treasured community gardens."

5. Stadiums & Amateur Sports

· What specific actions would you take to require that professional sports organizations assist in maintaining and operating public parks near their facilities?
"As the City considers various proposals by professional sports organizations to build new facilities, we must consider the impact that these new developments will have on their surrounding communities, including parkland. If the city is going to support the proposals by the Yankees and Mets for a new stadium, and by the Nets for an arena in Brooklyn, future agreements should be partially contingent upon the teams’ commitment to the upkeep of nearby public spaces. I support requiring the sports organizations to contribute to the maintenance and operation of area parks."

· How would you provide more multi-purpose facilities for amateur sports and recreation?
"In Council District 5, the 54th Street Recreational Center and Asphalt Green are excellent multi-purpose facilities that are heavily utilized by community residents. Each community in the city should have access to a neighborhood facility for sports and recreation."

6. Waterfront Parks

· How would you improve upon recent investment in the NYC waterfront?
"As a Councilmember, one of my top priorities will be the development of South Point Park on Roosevelt Island, a waterfront park that had the potential to be a “crown jewel” of the parks system. I will continue to work with the Trust for Public Land, the Governor’s office, and with the Mayor’s Administration to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to enjoy this land all the time, not just for the fireworks show on the 4th of July.

Historically, the City has not done a good job at protecting and developing open space along its waterfront. We need to turn our City’s waterfronts into beautiful, accessible open spaces by creating long-term plans for our waterfronts."

· What are your plans to ensure that citizens in all five boroughs have access to waterfront parks?
"Recently, the borough of Manhattan opened a bike path that circumnavigates the island along the waterfront. I would work with my colleagues in the City Council to create a citywide plan for development of accessible waterfront parks for all New Yorkers to enjoy."

· How would you fund the especially costly maintenance of waterfront parks?
"I would work to increase the maintenance budget of the Parks Department. Also, as the City Council considers zoning changes by developers along the waterfront, I would advocate for developers to be required to contribute financially towards the ongoing maintenance of nearby waterfront areas."

7. National Parks

· What steps would you take to promote the use of and access to our city’s national parks (ie. Gateway National Recreation Area, National Parks of NY Harbor)?
"I would advocate for increased funding at the city, state and federal levels to provide greater access to our City’s national parks, including ferries."
· What is your vision for Governors Island?
"We should find a way to preserve its rich history, increase access to its open space, and create a civic space where visitors could enjoy a mixture of cultural, educational, and recreational facilities. I would like to find ways to attract both local residents and tourists to learn more about the historical significance of Governors Island, as well as to enjoy the beautiful views and surroundings."