November 16, 2015
New conservancy group will support and improve "The World's Park"
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP today announced the official launch of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance. The new independent non-profit organization will support and promote the upkeep and enhancement of the 900-acre park, which is home to numerous sports fields, as well as internationally recognized professional sports stadiums and museums.
"Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a crown jewel of the City's Parks Department, and we're proud to announce the launch of an alliance that will help promote and enhance this beloved Queens park," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Flushing Meadow Corona Park is a pivotal destination for so many of our Queens residents and tourists from around the world, and this alliance will ensure it continues to draw in visitors for years to come. I want to thank Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for her lasting commitment to this vision, which helped ensure this alliance became a reality."
The Alliance's board of directors is comprised of government, community and business leaders, including:
- Carol Conslato: Director Public Affairs, Con Edison
- Raul Garcia: Associate General Counsel, 32BJ
- Jim Haddad: Proprietor, Law Office of James M. Haddad
- Andrea Hirsch, Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel, USTA
- Patty Ornst: Managing Director, New York State and Local Government Affairs, Delta Air Lines
- Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make The Road New York
- Edwin Wong, Vice President, Sr. Relationship Manager, HSBC Commercial Banking
- Danny Zausner, Chief Operating Officer, National Tennis Center
The board includes five ex-officio members: First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, Acting Cultural Affairs Commissioner Edwin Torres, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. The Alliance will also be served by an independent Community Advisory Board (CAB) comprised of community members that reflect the diverse Queens community. Nominations for CAB membership will begin in December with an open informational session. Flushing Meadows Corona Park Administrator Janice Melnick will serve as Executive Director of the Alliance. Upon their first meeting, a CAB member will hold a seat on the Alliance's Board of Directors.
"Flushing Meadows Corona Park is one of New York City's great public spaces, with a past, present and future that truly earn its place as 'The World's Park.' The formation of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance paves the way for greater community engagement to support and improve this vital Queens resource," said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.
"The Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance will provide our park with a community-driven organization to direct strategic planning, effective maintenance and public input. I am honored to announce this historic, new public-private partnership to be a steward for the park, a platform for community engagement, and a vehicle for investment in Queens' iconic park and our most cherished green space," said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.
"Safeguarding Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a priority that I expect this new alliance will treat with the utmost diligence and due care. Finally, Flushing Meadows Corona Park will have an alliance dedicated solely to its maintenance and well-being so that all park-goers can get the most out of Queens' flagship park," said Council Member Peter Koo.
"Flushing Meadows Corona Park is not only a local treasure, but a New York City landmark that people come to visit from all over the world," said Assembly Member Francisco Moya. "It is imperative that we invest in our park in order to ensure that it remains a community centerpiece for generations to come. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver for launching this innovative new partnership."
Since hosting the World's Fair in 1939, and again in 1964, Flushing Meadows Corona Park has been one of Queens' premier recreation destinations. It is the largest and most diverse park in Queens, and is home to the city's largest lake, the Al Oerter Recreation Center, the Queens Museum, the New York Hall of Sciences, the National Tennis Center, Citi Field, and the newly repainted Philip Johnson masterpiece: the New York State Pavilion. The park is also home to basketball, soccer, tennis and cricket fields, football, golf, skating, kayak and canoeing, skateboarding, swimming, and dragon boats. The park has a theater, zoo, and botanic garden.
Initial funding for the Alliance is supported by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which will contribute $350,000 for the Alliance's first three years and $200,000 for the following 20 years.
"Flushing Meadows Corona Park is one of Queens' largest and most used open spaces, but it has long been deprived of the many critical resources it needs. The creation of the FMCP Alliance is the first step in bringing this park the attention it deserves and preserving this space which is crucial to the quality of life in our communities," said Anna Dioguardi Moyano, Director of Organizing and Community Development at Queens Community House.
"Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a second home to the children and families of ASOPEC Baseball Little League who spend endless days on its fields. We are incredibly proud to stand with Council Member Ferreras-Copeland and Mayor de Blasio as they launch this Alliance and seek to preserve and improve our park, and I look forward to building a strong community advisory board to support the Alliance's work. We commend these public servants for their investment in Flushing Meadows Corona Park," said ASOPEC Baseball Little League President Lucho Paladines.
"NY MetroKids Soccer League is pleased to be a part of the new Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy. Our teams with kids from all over Queens will truly benefit from a Flushing Meadows-Corona Park that receives a higher level of resources and support by way of the conservancy. We thank Council Member Ferreras-Copeland and Mayor de Blasio for their combined efforts to create this conservancy, making our park the best public venue in Queens," said Yair Bolanos, President of the NY MetroKids Soccer League.
"The Queens Distance Runners and I happily extend our gratitude and appreciation to the news of a creation of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance. Our running club for years has longed to see Flushing Meadows Corona Park receive the level of care that other parks benefit from. The Queens Distance Runners would be honored to assist this conservancy in any shape or form," said Kevin Montalvo President of the Queens Distance Runners.
"Today is a historic day for the preservation of green space in Queens, and we applaud Mayor de Blasio and Councilwoman Ferreras-Copeland for their commitment to our park's future. I work six days a week in a maintenance job. Like many others in my community, every week I look forward to Saturday, the day when I'm able to go out and play soccer at the park and get out the week's stress. For too long, our park has been ignored. The FMCP Alliance is going to play a critical role in preserving this critical resource for our community's health," said Felipe Idrovo, Board Member of Make the Road New York and Member of FC Queens.
"We are excited to see the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance creation! This is a great partnership between private funders and the City of New York. As residents who use the park, we know that it needs resources and it deserves much of the same attention that is paid to other iconic parks around the city. Thank you Council Member Ferreras-Copeland and Mayor de Blasio for bringing this to our park!" said Ann Brown, President of East Elmhurst-Corona Civic Association.
"We are glad to see that Flushing Meadows Corona Park now has a conservancy that will do as many things for it as the Central Park Conservancy does for its own park. This is long overdue," said Louis Walker, Chairman of Queens Community Board 4.
"Congratulations to Council Member Ferreras-Copeland and Mayor de Blasio on the creation of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance. We were able to work with the Council Member and the community for the past four years, first to save the park from intrusion and then to help establish the Alliance. Flushing Meadow Corona Park is an essential part of the life of the people of Queens. It needs major capital improvements and specialized maintenance. The Alliance, by combining the efforts of the public sector, private sector and the community, can now provide resources and advocacy to make this park even better," said Tupper Thomas, Executive Director for New Yorkers for Parks.
"Community Board 3 commends the Mayor and Council Member Ferreras-Copeland for keeping the City's promise to create an alliance for FMCP. Finally our park will receive the much needed funding and resources that is required to run an internationally renowned park. We are very excited about the wonderful future for FMCP," said Giovanna A. Reid, District Manager of Community Board 3.
"I'd like to commend the leadership of Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for the creation of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance, a historic public and private partnership. In working in partnership, the Alliance will bring much needed human and financial resources to upgrade and maintain Queens' flagship park for generations to come," said Asian American's First Equality Director Christopher Kui.
"Faith in New York, our congregations and our community are thrilled to stand with the Mayor and Councilwoman Ferreras-Copeland in announcing the creation of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance which will bring much needed investment into Queen's largest park. We are excited to participate with our partners from the Fairness Coalition of Queens in the Community Advisory Board for the new Alliance, to insure that community voices can shape the future of our park in the most diverse county in the country. This Alliance was a hard fought victory, and it was only possible because community organizations, our congregations and our elected officials came together to fight for a better future for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. We look forward to that continued spirit of collaboration as the Alliance begins its important work," said Esther Sanchez, Member of the Social Justice team of St. Leo's Church and a resident of Corona Queens.
"As a community based organization in Corona, Elmcor is excited to be a part of the redevelopment of the park through our involvement on Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance and its community advisory board. We have a 50-year history of active living and recreational programming in Northern Queens. In partnership with Council Member Ferreras-Copeland and other partners, we can develop and implement a vision for the park that will allow our communities the opportunities and benefits of green space; that provides a real asset to the quality of life for families in Queens and the city," said Saeeda Dunston, Executive Director of Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities Center.