NEW YORKERS for PARKS DECRIES SALE OF RANDALL’S ISLAND BALL FIELDS, PUBLIC PARK LAND
For Immediate Release
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New York, NY---Today, the Franchise Concession and Review Committee voted to approve the controversial contract between the City, the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation, and 20 private schools.
“From the outset, we said that the City should not endorse a pay to play policy for parks, which this proposal creates. Public access to public parkland has been an underlying principle since the creation of the first public park in New York City. Today’s vote clearly violates that principle,” said Christian DiPalermo, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks.
“We thank Borough President Stringer for voting against this proposal and we thank Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito for speaking out in support of the public. It’s unfortunate that the City Administration and Comptroller Thompson did not see the value of improving this deal for the good of the public,” said DiPalermo.
The Randall’s Island proposal is between the City, 20 private schools, and the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation. In exchange for giving the City $2.85 million dollars a year for the next 20 years to renovate and expand the ball fields, the private school consortium will have exclusive use of some ball fields on Randall’s Island during peak hours, 3-6pm, on weekdays, during the school year.
New Yorkers for Parks believes this vote has set a dangerous precedent of limiting public access to public parks which can affect city parkland from Governor’s Island to local neighborhood parks.
DiPalermo further stated, “We must do everything possible to make sure this type of privatization doesn’t spread throughout our precious park system.”