Prospect Park Alliance has announced a new initiative to "renew the park," following a year of high use and wear and tear during which the park lost critical funding.
Re:New Prospect Park will expand trash management, make park improvements and increase volunteer opportunities, all with the aim of serving the community and meeting the challenges brought on by COVID-19, Prospect Park Alliance said in a statement.
Both Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks lost funding during the pandemic, which resulted in a reduced workforce and resources. That, combined with a significant increase in park visitors, saw the park overrun with trash and in need of some TLC.
Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue said her team knew how important the park had been to the community throughout the past year, and the important role it served in the city's recovery.
"Prospect Park is showing serious signs of wear and tear, and without our normal workforce, we are so grateful for our community, who over the past year has pitched in to help sustain this cherished green oasis," she said.
For trash management, the alliance is funding four seasonal groundskeepers to help supplement NYC Parks maintenance crews during this busiest time of year. In addition, it is partnering with ACE New York, a non-profit that empowers the homeless, to provide additional maintenance resources to help clean the park on peak weekdays and weekend evenings through October. The ACE New York partnership is partially funded via a grant from Amazon.
Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon's New York head of external affairs, said by partnering with ACE, Prospect Park Alliance was creating job opportunities, "while ensuring this local gem remains a resource for our city and borough."
ACE Executive Director James Martin said the jobs not only benefited the city by keeping the park pristine, "they also provide meaningful employment for men and women who have overcome histories of homelessness."
Large trash receptacles will also be installed in key areas of the park, and visitors are being encouraged to carry their trash out with them.
Park improvements will include lawn areas, comfort stations, barbecue areas and also the park's Drummer's Grove, Prospect Park Alliance said. Work will take place this spring into early summer, and will include renovated restroom facilities at the Lincoln Road and Children's Corner; new barbecue grills, new fixtures and furnishings at the Picnic House and Bandshell barbecue areas; and installing new benches and landscaping at the Drummer's Grove.
In addition, the Alliance will be bring on board an expanded "Fix-It" crew and volunteer services staff to help renew the park's lawn areas, repaint benches, fix broken fencing and give a deep clean to the park's rustic and historic structures.
In order to achieve the park improvements, the alliance has expanded its Volunteer Services staff to accommodate more volunteer opportunities in the park, including the return of the popular "Green and Go Kit" and "It's My Park Monday" programs, where groups and individuals can be hands-on and involved with keeping the park clean and vibrant.
The Alliance is also launching a Re:New Volunteer Corps, which will work alongside Alliance crews to support park improvement projects. For more information on volunteering, click here.
Re:New Prospect Park is being run in partnership with ACE New York, and is being funded by Amazon, the Leon Levy Foundation, New York Community Trust, NYC Green Relief + Recovery Fund, and others.