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Construction and maintenance of parks and open space increase property values. These findings have determined that in many cities increased property tax revenue has repaid city investment in parks.
James Vacca on Parks
James Vacca for City Council
Part 1 – Yes/No Questions
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
> If so, would you dedicate revenue earned through park concessions to parks maintenance and operations, without simultaneous decreases in baseline funding? YES
b. Will you establish objective, publicly accessible maintenance standards for all park properties in all five boroughs? YES
c. Will you provide in your Mayor’s Management Report park ratings by borough and community board in addition to the citywide level? YES
> Will you make the official Parks Department “property list” that specifically delineates all 1,700 properties available online? YES
> Will you make publicly available details of the private funding that helps to maintain and operate many of our public parks? YES
a. Will you support legislation that requires regular NYPD reports to the City Council on crime in parks (ie. Intro. 470)? YES
b. Will you work toward making parkland part of the city’s CompStat system? YES
5. Open Space/Natural Areas
Part 2 – Open Questions
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?
b. What would be your plan to move from roaming crews to fixed crews for parks maintenance?
c. What funding / programs would you use to increase the full-time parks maintenance staff?
A,B,C: "I would ask the administration to come up with an overall capital plan for NYC Parks. I find that most capital projects in local parks are funded through the City Councilperson or Borough President. There must be a citywide commitment to maintain our parks and initiate new capital projects. I feel a five year plan model, as now utilized to prioritize projects at the New York City Department of Education, would be an appropriate step in the right direction. I would fund it in the overall context of the capital budget, assessing available funds and making long-term and multi-year commitments where needed. By trying to allow the Parks Department to keep much of its concession revenue and supporting the concept of 1% expense budget funding for Parks, I hope to reduce the dependence on “ roaming crews “ and provide for full time parks maintance staff. As Community Board #10,where I have served as District Manager for 25 years, includes the largest park in the city, Pelham Bay Park, I am particularly sensitive to the needs of Parks and view both capital and expense budget commitment as imperative."
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?
"Each year, when the City Council makes restorations to libraries and social services I would ask that the Parks Dept.expense budget budget allocations be reviewed as well and that the Council make restorations should the administration not include recreation and sports programs in their submission. I believe that there must a citywide commitment toward a collaborative relationship between DYCD, Parks and the Dept.of Education. Once that takes place and the parameters and goals are established I would use the District Service Cabinets of the Community Boards to locally coordinate actions that would effectuate service delivery. As a City Councilman, I would have a staff member serve as a link between my Community Boards and the city to make sure nothing falls through the cracks."
· 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?
4. Community Gardens
· What specific actions would you take to reduce the cost of the annual insurance premiums that community gardeners must pay?
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?
· How would you provide more multi-purpose facilities for amateur sports and recreation?
6. Waterfront Parks
· How would you improve upon recent investment in the NYC waterfront?
· What are your plans to ensure that citizens in all five boroughs have access to waterfront parks?
· How would you fund the especially costly maintenance of waterfront parks?
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)?