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Aging Park Infrastructure Challenges New York City

The Bond Buyer

Age, record usage and years of deferred maintenance have caused serious infrastructure problems at New York City’s parks, according to Center for an Urban Future.

“While many New Yorkers are familiar with the city’s aging streets, bridges, subways, libraries and schools, there is little awareness of the age and infrastructure challenges facing the city’s public parks,” said the 52-page report, “A New Leaf,” that the think tank released Tuesday.


Resilience expert Alan Rubin urged de Blasio’s administration to tap the green-bond market.

“They’re still not using the most common financing vehicle for this kind of work, green bonds,” said Rubin, a principal in the government-relations unit at law firm Blank Rome LLP in New York. “The Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget doesn’t want to do it. I’m hopeful they can use it, because it’s the most efficient way to establish this structure.”

The report cited the best-practices of Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Dallas and Denver as examples for New York to follow. Positives in those cities, according to the study, include sustainable parks plans, long-term funding streams, green infrastructure, citywide foundations and data-driven management.

Rubin said the city should use the request-for-proposals process more broadly.

“They can use RFP for park concessions to look for procurements that are more interesting rather than water or ice cream. There are vendors willing to do work that’s sustainable.”

Rubin also called for setting aside some capital construction discretionary funds for the five borough presidents, who could appoint local coordinators and also leverage funds to obtain federal money.

“We’ve always said getting community buy-in for Smart Cities-type of initiatives is important,” he said. “The borough presidents could then interact with their congressional delegations -- people like Joe Crowley and Hakeem Jeffries.”

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"Aging Park Infrastructure Challenges New York City," by Paul Burton was published in The Bond Buyer on June 26, 2018.