Revamped fundraising focus for Hudson River Park

The Friends of Hudson River Park, a nonprofit committed to the park’s development, will become its primary fundraising arm in the near future.

The Hudson River Park Trust currently has $15 million in operating funds that stem from leases, permits, ballfield fees and parking charges, but it needs more money to expand programming and otherwise develop already-existing space, created with more than $450 million in government-sponsored capital construction funds.

Per a new agreement with the Hudson River Park Trust, F.H.R.P. is to raise a minimum of one million dollars for the park by next March and $10 million per year thereafter. The H.R.P.T. will provide a recoverable grant of $500,000 toward fundraising efforts.

Pam Frederick, a member of the F.H.R.P.’s board of directors, who presented the plans at the June 20 meeting of Community Board 1’s Waterfront Committee alluded to the poor economy in terms of the park’s commercial opportunities and added,  “This [initiative] is intended to fill that gap.”

The newly formed partnership between the F.H.R.P. and the H.R.P.T. will entail the creation of a joint committee that will develop a strategic plan for the park, advise on budget matters and devise fundraising methods and financial benchmarks for the F.H.R.P. The nonprofit will also hire a consultant to assist with the fundraising.

“It’s not complex, when you think about it — [F.H.R.P.] is a nonprofit that raises the money and [H.R.P.T.] is an agency that runs the park,” said Frederick. “The mission of this whole thing is to raise private capital for the park.”

The F.H.R.P. will relocate to Pier 40, once the new setup is in place. The H.R.P.T. will vote on the partnership proposal at its July 21 board meeting.

The waterfront committee passed a motion supporting the partnership, which the board believes will “ensure that monies are available for programming, operation and maintenance of Hudson River Park.”

“It’s really crowded in Hudson River Park these days. It’s turning out to be an amazing waterfront,” said Community Board 1 Waterfront Committee Chair Bob Townley, who also sits on the Hudson River Park Advisory Council. “We’re hopefully going to see that this working relationship bears some fruit.”

— Aline Reynolds