Washington Square Park
The Daily Plant : Tuesday, October 30, 2001
CHARLES (RAZORBACK) MCKINNEY TO WORK FOR A 2,700-ACRE NEW JERSEY PARK
When he began work at Parks, fresh out of the Air Force, Charles (Razorback) McKinney dedicated himself to Riverside Park, outlining a master plan for its restoration. That was 1981. Twenty years later, he has implemented the changes described in that master plan. And he has done much more for one of Manhattan’s best-loved, most used parks. As community residents will attest, 20 years ago, Riverside Park was badly rundown. Large sections of the park were abandoned and others had been taken over for illegal activity. As the Director of Riverside Park and later the Riverside Park Administrator, McKinney grew the relationship between parks and neighborhood volunteers into a public/private partnership. The Riverside Park Fund plays an active role in the life of the park today.
With a combination of public and private funds, McKinney leveraged major park innovations and improvements. Under his watch, the City’s first skate park opened in a formerly abandoned section of the park. The use of artificial turf enabled the West Side Soccer League to claim a portion of the park. That league is one of several that make extensive use of the park’s fields and have helped define Riverside Park as a recreation hot spot for kids and adults in Manhattan. Most recently, McKinney has overseen the creation of Riverside Park South, the more than 20-acre addition to the park and the near completion of bicycle and pedestrian pathways on the waterfront.
The friends he’s made at countless community board meetings, art commission reviews, and on his daily trips through the park will remember McKinney fondly. We wish him the best of luck as he turns his imagination and ability to the 2,700-acre Doris Duke Estate in Princeton, New Jersey where he will serve as director.
K.C. (JONES) SAHL TO SUCCEED MCKINNEY AS RIVERSIDE PARK ADMINISTRATOR
Parks and the Riverside Park Fund have named K. C. (Jones) Sahl Acting Riverside Park Administrator. Sahl will return to Manhattan on November 9, 2001.
Sahl began at Parks after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. In November of 1995 the California native accepted a position as an Analyst for Operations and Management Planning. He was the first Parkie to analyze the WEP program. He also acted as Commissioner Moss’ liaison with lifeguards. One year later, he moved to Manhattan as the first Manager of Washington Square Park. In that role, Sahl sought private funding from New York University and other local organizations with a vested interest in Washington Square Park. He was able to raise more than $250,000 in private money for Gardeners, CPWs, and PEP Officers in his first year on the job. Sahl was made Employee of the Month in July of 1996.
Sahl’s responsibilities grew in November 1997 when he became Park Manager for Districts 1 and 2 in Manhattan. He worked with other borough staff to devise a special maintenance plan for the newly renovated City Hall Park. Under his supervision, Districts 1 and 2 maintained the highest ratings in the City.
Sahl moved to Brooklyn as Deputy Chief of Operations in November 2000. There he has worked to improve the operations of the borough’s technical trade shops and created an operations manual. He regards his new appointment in Riverside Park as a "fantastic challenge", and notes that early in his career, "Charles McKinney helped me develop my skills as a manager." Sahl plans to spend his first weeks on the job becoming better acquainted with the park, how it used and by whom. Once he understands this, he will work with residents and community organizations to realize their priorities for restoration and programming as well as daily maintenance and operations.
Commissioner Benepe expressed his satisfaction with the appointment saying, "There were a number of superlative candidates from within Parks and from the private sector. K.C. was the top candidate. His broad range of experience at Parks in many different positions, his prior experience in the Peace Corps, and his energy and his passion for public service will make him an outstanding administrator of this important park. I look forward to working with him and with the Riverside Park Fund and all the friends and neighbors of Riverside Park to continue the renaissance begun so capably by the first administrator, Charles McKinney."
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Tuesday, November 1, 1988)
JAMES RYAN NAMED BRONX PARKS COMMISSIONER
James R. Ryan has been appointed Bronx Parks Commissioner, Mayor Edward I. Koch and Commissioner Stern announced today. Ryan had been the Acting Bronx Parks Commissioner since July 1987.
"Jim Ryan is a career civil servant who has served the Parks Department with distinction since he joined city government in 1963," said Commissioner Stern. "He has been doing an excellent job as Bronx Parks Commissioner for over a year now, and it is to his credit that Parks has experienced a resurgence of good working relationships with Bronx community boards, neighborhood groups and elected officials."
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"What is a society without a heroic dimension?"
Jean Beaudrillard (1948-1982)
Directions to Washington Square Park
Know Before You Go
Washington Square Park
NYC Parks is currently undergoing a thorough inspection of all trees in Washington Square Park. The last inspection occurred roughly two years ago and immediate hazards were identified and resolved. As of August 8, our Manhattan Forestry unit will be pruning approximately 270 trees over several days. Additionally, there will be one removal of a 32-inch pin oak with root rot in the northwest section of the park to ensure public safety.
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