Open Space Issues Discussed At Community Forums
Around the City, the Parks Department is listening to communities "Speak Up" about their parks. Forums are being held in all five boroughs for park advocates and community groups to hear about Parks initiatives and discuss how to increase involvement.
The series is modeled after the successful Bronx Speak Up, which has been in existence for 14 years. Recognizing the importance of holding free forums to generate public discussion about open spaces, the program has been expanded citywide thanks to the support of Partnerships for Parks and countless community organizations.
The series kicked off on February 9 at the Prospect Park Picnic House. The Brooklyn Parks Advocates helped put together this forum with topics ranging from Million Trees NYC, to how Brooklyn Forestry promptly responded to the loss of trees from this summer’s tornado, to the capital budget process and how projects evolve from idea to reality, to health and fitness initiatives underway at Brooklyn’s recreation centers. It also featured an opportunity for residents to interact with organizations including the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Urban Park Rangers, Greenthumb and the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.
The 14th annual Bronx Speak Up was then held on February 23 at Lehman College. The forum’s theme was “Greening the Bronx” and featured presentations on Yankee Stadium Replacement Parks, tree plantings, storm water infrastructure and the use of synthetic versus natural turf. Community groups, including Rocking the Boat and New Yorkers for Parks, also presented. Attendees enjoyed live opening entertainment by local band Spuyten Duyvil and the event was sponsored by Con Edison and hosted by the Bronx Coalition for Parks & Green Spaces.
On March 1, City College hosted the Manhattan Community Get-Together. Events included networking sessions, gardening demonstrations and a seminar from Partnerships staff on how groups could improve their organizational skills. A panel was also held to discuss how community organizations could involve themselves in the development of park designs. Topics included the importance of community participation, effective ways of gathering input, resources to help community members navigate the design process and success stories of groups who have influenced the design of both small and large scale park processes.
Two more community forums are happening on Saturday, March 8. They will take place in Staten Island from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the College of Staten Island, and in Queens from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the New York Hall of Science.
We hope to see you there!
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
(1925 – 1965)