‘Vital Parks’ plan aims to invest $3.2 billion in NYC parks upkeep

DA8_8614_062024 Vital Parks
Courtesy of NYC Parks. Photo by Daniel Avila.

The Parks Department rolled out on Thursday a $3.2 billion vision for improving greenspaces across the city.

Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue announced plan, Vital Parks for All: Investing in NYC’s Living infrastructure, which aims to protect and improve existing park facilities, deliver new resources to underserved communities and provide New Yorkers with information about the city’s greenspaces.

Vital Parks will also enable community board members, advocates, stakeholders and all New Yorkers to compare their community’s access to parks to others across the five boroughs with a digital map, Vital Parks Explorer. Real-time data accessible to all New Yorkers makes this possible.

Each location will be rated with a Park Condition Score analyzing the state of play equipment, landscape elements and amenities within restrooms.

“Our parks work a host of different jobs. They are lungs, backyards, watering holes, and cultural hubs of our neighborhoods,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meeri Joshi in a press release

NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

By investing in the city’s park system, the Parks Department hopes that New Yorkers will utilize local greenspaces more often — building connections with other New Yorkers in the process.

The green areas also provide relief during times of extreme heat and help fight climate change threats.

“This initial $3.2B investment in our city’s living infrastructure is a welcome sight for our city. Healthy trees, green spaces, and thriving communities will continue to make our city stronger and more resilient, helping safeguard our city’s future,” Joshi added. 

Efforts are already underway to improve restrooms at parks across the city, the first step of the Vital Parks program.

“New Yorkers deserve accessible, well-maintained public restrooms — and we’re delivering. NYC Parks is leading the way with innovative initiatives and partnerships to build these vital public resources more quickly and efficiently,” said Donoghue at a press conference on June 3. 

The next step is to improve the city’s public pools which are a place of comfort in these rising temperature weather conditions. 

Creating more greener areas is also a goal. 

“The Vital Parks plan doesn’t just acknowledge these challenges, it also commits real investment toward the solution: more parks, more trees, more pools and consistent maintenance, ” said City Council Member Shekar Krishnan (D-Queens), who chairs the Council’s Parks Committee.