Since the deal to have it manage Central Park for the Parks Department was first hammered out in 1998, we've been pretty big fans of the Central Park Conservancy. It is very hard to argue that the park is not in better shape now that in was then and that its future looks even better. Sure there have been some hiccups, but these things happen when you manage a public space of that scale..
So we applaud the fact that the city has worked out a new contract to not only keep the Conservancy running the park but to let it do so with access to more money - even if we're a little antsy about the source of these new funds.
Here's the story: In the new deal, just like the old deal, the city will pay the conservancy about $3.7 million a year to run the park. But in the new deal the city is removing the limit to the amount of money the Conservancy can get from concessions.
Under the old contract, the city gave the conservancy 50 cents of every dollar of concession revenue between $6 million and $10 million, but never more than $2 million a year, even if revenue exceeded $10 million annually.
The $10 million figure seemed distant when the first contract was worked out. Now it is closer: Mr. Benepe estimated that concessions bring in about $9.5 million a year now. Under the new contract, the city and the conservancy will divide all revenue above $6 million.
On the one hand, sure that seems totally fair, but on the other hand we hope that the no greedy-bones over at the Conservancy uses this lifted cap as an excuse to fill the park up with more for-profits that do little for the rest of us (*cough* *cough* Tavern on the Green *cough* *cough*).
Photo of Central Park earlier this afternoon phoned in to Contribute by Gothamist reader Coppin