Comments on: Why privately-financed public parks are a bad idea A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: JudithFrancis Mon, 25 Nov 2013 19:27:59 +0000 For those scholars among you, see Ill Fares the Land by Tony Jundt. Good reading on why private public partnerships are bad for the public. But on the specific topic of parks, it is important to note that when housing became the near-sole means to pay for Brooklyn Bridge Park, all year round recreation came out of the original master park plan. All recreational amenities were replaced by very costly to maintain landscaping.Why? Lawns sell condos but pools, ice rinks and indoor rec-centers do not. It took the community 8 years to get back 3 soccer fields and a seasonal recreational pier from the community’s original master plan. 8 years of constant and continuous advocacy (ne, fighting) with the Bloomberg “entity” that runs this non-designated “park”. If we were to dedicate just 1% of our tax revenue to public parks, all parks would be maintained to the level of these “private” parks. Remember when the Republican convention was held in NYC? Remember that a big section of Central Park was cordoned off for a Chase party? Remember that the democratic caucus wanted to use parts of the park for their event and were denied? These are historic facts – these Conservancies are a menace to open and transparent use of public lands. They should be abolished. And hopefully, under Mayor DeBlasio, they will and all parks folded back into the NYC Parks Dept. Think of all the money tax payers will save if there is just one entity running our parks? Certainly for Brooklyn Bridge Park we would save about $1Million in redundant public servant salaries and related expenses for their own building and benefits. That is on top of the Conservancy’s costs – publicly funded by City Council and State representative donations to run this redundant BBP Conservancy. The whole thing is a scam and the public loses – again, and again, and again.

By: Moopheus Mon, 25 Nov 2013 18:07:46 +0000 Urukhai–

It’s not really very complicated. Public ownership of public parks means guaranteed rights of public access, and the free expression of any right you have to do anything in public. When ownership and control are privatized, those rights can be limited. If we want to have places where the public can travel freely, express themselves freely, and otherwise engage in the public life of a citizen, those places must belong to the public.

By: johnglover Sun, 24 Nov 2013 16:08:15 +0000 @ urukhai: the problem is that, in reality, the donor is directing $ 50 million of the public money to his private preferences.

Frankly, I’d rather have the public decide what to do with the public’s money, not some rich dude.

I’m actually kind of shocked that donors can get development rights in exchange for their donations. It’s not really a donation if you’re getting something in return. Hope they’re taking that into account when they file their tax returns.

By: am4 Sun, 24 Nov 2013 14:30:01 +0000 Urukhai2–Unfortunately, most of those rich people are sociopathic and they “earned” their money through nepotism, cronyism and outright thievery. Anything over $100M should be taken from them and re-redistributed back to the people who actually create value by working.

By: urukhai2 Sat, 23 Nov 2013 13:40:11 +0000 Once, again, an article bashing the evil rich and corporations. How original.
– You are complaining about a $100 MILLION donation to Central Park because the doner will gain a tax advantage. So, it is only costing him $50 MILLION out of his pocket. Stingy bastard! I’m certainly not rich, but I have traveled in some of their circles and most absolutely do NOT donate just to gain tax advantage.
– I don’t know about you, but I lived in NYC during the 70’s. Central Park was a cesspool, as well as many other parks in the city. My dad was a former marine and a NYC cop who carried a gun off duty. We only skirted the perimeter of the park because of the high crime within. With private money influence, the park was cleaned up and is infinitely better because of it.
– Why always blame corruption on private business (evil corporations)? It is a two way street. If there is corruption that means the government is corruptible. Private money may pressure government but government absolutely pressures private money through threats of legislation and regulation. I see it every day.
-It’s easy to say blame “corporations” without looking at the good that they do. I work for a corporation that is currently matching any employee donation 2:1 for the Red Cross.

– And why bash “for profit”? I” sure that you work for free and live off of the land but most of us need “profit” to live on. If we create a lot of it, to the point that our profit exceeds our personal financial goals, we may take some of what is left over and use for the good of others or our planet in general.

We have a privately funded conservation area where I live now and, while I’m not happy with all of the decisions they make, the areas are immaculate. They are a joy to visit. They are maintained through private donations and volunteers ( BTW – since time and money are one in the same – you exchange your time, your life, for money in order to create wealth and purchase things – volunteering is another form of donating those pesky profits).
There are several federal and state conservation areas here, as well, and only government employees AND people who know them are allowed in. I will never get go see some of this beautiful land.
If parks are going to be influenced by the preferences of rich people, then I’m all for it. Those preferences and decisions are what made them rich and we should learn and be inspired by them.

By: y2kurtus1 Sat, 23 Nov 2013 02:17:10 +0000 Working in Portland Maine I feel like one of the worlds foremost experts on the tension between different groups with radically different ideas on how to manage public spaces. If you’ve never made it to the little Portland put it on your list… Amazing public spaces, two huge oceanfront promenades, Warfs, a huge “oaks” and many smaller but no less significant parks… with all these assets come the occasional blood fights though.

Last year my fine work city closed down a public park to host a concert… it was by most accounts well run and very well attended. Of course there were PLENTY of people put off by the lack of access to the park for their daily walk, the traffic it caused, ect.

Just as that clamor was dieing down a controversy 100 times larger erupted. The town council voted to SELL a few thousand square feet of public space (not green space mind you, but still public domain) to a developer who intended to GASP develop that space and DOUBLE GASP make money. Google the story if you are interested… it’s pretty interesting.

The one quip I’ll end with about the uberrich or mass affluent building/shaping parks is that… well most of our best parks are actually a direct result of gifts from the uberwealthy of generations past. But good luck with your ever expanding roll of the state in our lives Felix… I mean when has that ever not worked right!

By: jmiel628 Fri, 22 Nov 2013 15:04:43 +0000 Felix,

Would love to hear your take on public money financing stadiums/arenas, especially in light of the shenanigans afoot in Atlanta and Minneapolis.

By: OrelHazard Fri, 22 Nov 2013 14:33:52 +0000 BRAVO, Felix. US capitalism constantly uses the transactional aspects of charity to intensify wealth in the hands of the richest. It is a rotten arrangement, and becomes more self-fulfilling as moaning about public “debt” rises, fouling policy with panic over shortfalls that would never be there were it not for the rich’s authorship and command of the tax code.