New Yorkers for Parks released a 2006 Progress Report on neighborhood parks that were examined in the 2005 Report Card on Parks, and the news is depressing. While five of the top ten parks are still in great shape, the other five have deteriorated, most dramatically, Tenney Park in Queens which had been given an A+ in 2005, but now warrants an F in 2006. And parks that were in bad shape are just getting worse. NY4P notes that daily maintenance is a big part in keeping parks great, and had a few suggestions to keep them in better condition:

- Double park maintenance during peak season. Once-a-day cleaning is clearly insufficient for parks such as University Woods in the University Heights section of the Bronx and Martinez Playground in East Williamsburg. These parks have perennially scored the lowest on NY4P’s Report Card on Parks, and twice-a-day cleaning would provide a minimum level of care.
- Provide a full-time gardener in every Community Board District. “We are encouraged by the Mayor and City Council’s move in the last budget cycle to increase the number of gardeners in parks. We now call on our elected officials to take the next step, which would provide a gardener for every community board—virtually doubling the amount of dedicated workers in our parks,” said NY4P’s Executive Director Christian DiPalermo. A recent study by the Trust for Public Land found that New York currently ranks below the national average in parks spending per resident. In fact, New York City spends less per resident on parks than San Francisco, Chicago and Minneapolis.
- Borough Presidents should take the lead in encouraging civic engagement and private investment in parks to raise the level of safety and cleanliness. “Borough Presidents already play an integral role in building and repairing parks in their boroughs. The next logical step is for them to take the lead in creating more community stewardship to work with the Parks Department to ensure that each and every park is receiving the attention it needs,” DiPalermo said.

You can read the Progress Report and past Report Cards here.

Photograph of Tenney Park from New Yorkers for Parks