Bronx Parks Speak-Up
The 18th Annual Bronx Parks Speak Up was held on February 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Lehman College Faculty Dining Room, and Parks was represented by Borough Commissioner Aponte, Deputy Commissioner Blackmon, and First Deputy Commissioner Kavanagh. This year’s theme was Green Spaces for All Generations, which focused on using green spaces to connect to all age groups and how to get them involved in their local parks or gardens. This year, there were exhibits from over 30 organizations, presentations on “Building Change” by Student buildOn Members, a Croton Mitigation Project Update by BC Aponte, and workshops that covered a diverse range of topics, such as Intergenerational Programming, Advocating for Your Playground, Garden Design, and Harlem River Visioning. Organized by a committee of the Bronx Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, and assistance from Partnerships for Parks, the Bronx Parks Speak Up is an annual community networking conference for park and environmental stakeholders. This day-long event drew over 350 Bronx residents, elected officials, and agency personnel.
Sustainable Recreation Centers
The Parks Training Academy, the Sustainability Initiatives Office, and the Recreation division held four energy conservation workshops in February for Recreation Center Managers and staff. These workshops were part of the agency’s plan to reduce energy use, now that Parks is now responsible for its electricity costs. Over 60 employees attended these workshops, with topics covered including the difference between watts and lumens, why a T5 fluorescent lamp is more efficient than a T8 lamp, how to calculate energy savings from performing simple lighting upgrades, and how to kill energy “vampires” (practices and appliances that use more than their fare share of energy). Following the workshops, Parks’ Energy Team will be holding site-specific workshops at every recreation center this spring, and every Recreation Center has set two to three goals related to energy conservation and sustainability.
This week, I would like to highlight Tom Adams, Assistant Interagency Coordinator for Citywide Capital Projects. Tom began his Parks career in this position in 2008. In this role, Tom serves as Parks’ liaison with external City, State, and Federal agencies that are conducting capital work on parkland and on parkways throughout the five boroughs. His responsibilities include reviewing conceptual and preliminary plans, contract drawings, and specifications to ensure that standards are met, and to make certain that the project has no or minimal impact on parkland and parkways. Tom also conducts site visits to field verify that design guidelines are being followed, and coordinates among the various Capital units and Borough offices to ensure projects meet Parks standards.
Tom has taken on a project manager role for many of his projects. This has required that he coordinate internally within Parks as well as with outside agencies, the agencies’ consultants and the community. Most notably, he has played a lead role in securing approval of the playground under construction by MTA Bridges and Tunnels in Francis Lewis Park. Tom is an effective communicator who exercises independent judgment in reviewing project submittals and evaluating their impacts on parks, and effectively communicates these impacts to the appropriate Parks’ divisions.
Additionally, Tom has demonstrated excellent negotiation skills, helping to ensure that the projects carried out on parkland by other agencies have minimum impact on the park and its users. An example of this is the payment of more than $1 million to Parks’ Tree Fund for tree restitution resulting from MTA Bridges and Tunnel’s Whitestone Bridge project. This is in addition to the $2.6 million the MTA paid for a new playground that Tom helped to negotiate last year for construction of a new playground.
Thank you, Tom, for the outstanding and varied work that you do.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“A gift, with a kind countenance, is a double present.”
(1608 - 1661)