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Central Park Conservancy - notes

Conservancy; USA 29-Nov-2010 [116]

Central Park Conservancy
  • Conservancy's mission is to restore, manage and enhance Central Park, in partnership with the public, for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
  • In 1998, the Conservancy and the City of New York signed a management agreement formalizing their then 18-year public-private partnership.

- renewed in 2006 - 2014

- the Conservancy is the official manager, responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and operation of the Park.

- 80 percent of the Park's maintenance operations staff is employed by the Conservancy

- Conservancy provides 85 percent of Central Park's $25 million annual budget through fundraising and investment revenue.

- The City:

- pays an annual fee to the Conservancy for its services

- amount of the fee was determined by a formula that requires the Conservancy to raise and spend a specified minimum amount of private funds in the Park on an annual basis. - - the minimum Conservancy annual expenditure — which can include maintenance, programming and landscape improvements — is $5 million.

- the annual fee from the City depends on the Conservancy's expenditures in the Park and on the revenues generated by concessions in Central Park.

- the city funds lighting, maintenance of the Park drives and enforcement. The new contract maintains the City's baseline allocation for the maintenance of the Park, but it lifts the cap on the amount of funding the Conservancy receives based on concession revenues generated in the Park. Under the previous contract, the Conservancy received an amount equal to 50% of concession revenues beyond the first $6 million generated in the Park, not to exceed $2 million. As more of the Park is restored and the cost of caring for it continues to grow, removing this cap will ensure that the Park will continue to benefit from increasing revenues that are directly related to its successful management.

Under the current eight-year agreement, the Conservancy will provide for the Park's day-to-day care. Specified in the contract are: landscape maintenance, replacement of dead trees and plants, mowing and reseeding/resodding, graffiti removal, cleaning playgrounds and comfort stations, clearing walkways; cleaning drains, sewers, and walkways; repairing benches, and maintaining and repairing structures and monuments. The Conservancy's responsibilities also include providing public programs to educate visitors about the Park's built and natural assets. Over the term of its partnership with the City, the Conservancy has expanded its activities to include all of the above activities; the management contract ratifies those activities.

The City of New York's Role in Central Park

The City of New York retains control and policy responsibility for Central Park. Capital improvements in the Park will continue to undergo public review at each stage of development with advice and consent from the Commissioner of Parks & Recreation. The City of New York/ Parks & Recreation has discretion over all events in the Park, and that will continue. At present, all revenues generated from concessions in the Park go into the City of New York's general fund, and that will continue.

The Conservancy's Qualifications

The Central Park Conservancy is uniquely qualified to manage Central Park. The Conservancy has a proven track record in restoring and managing the Park. With its partner, the City of New York, it brought the Park from its deteriorated state in the late 1970s to its present condition, with major landscapes and historic structures restored and well-maintained. The Conservancy is a model for public-private partnerships for parks throughout the country and has developed an excellent staff of park management professionals. The Conservancy also has a track record in raising private funds to improve and preserve Central Park. Since its founding in 1980, the Conservancy has raised $350 million in private dollars, which, combined with the City's investment, turned Central Park into a living symbol of New York City's revitalization. Further, of every $1 the Conservancy raises, more than $.80 goes toward direct spending on horticulture, operations, maintenance, education, recreation, and public programs.

The Conservancy's Governance

The Conservancy is and will be accountable to the City of New York. The City of New York retains control and policy responsibility for Central Park. The Commissioner and officials of the City of New York/Parks & Recreation Department are involved in all Park planning and must approve all of the Conservancy's capital improvements in the Park. In addition, the Conservancy's 60-member Board of Trustees includes the Parks Commissioner and the Borough President of Manhattan, both ex officio, five Trustees appointed by the Mayor of the City of New York, and private sector members representing the City's business and philanthropic communities.

The Conservancy's Community Outreach and Public Review Process

Central Park will always be a public park. The Conservancy will continue to involve the public in the planning of any improvements to the Park. Starting with approval by the Commissioner of Parks & Recreation, the Conservancy's community outreach on capital projects is one of the most extensive and inclusive in the City. For any project, the Conservancy consults with Park users and surrounding communities to help develop its plans. The Conservancy then presents its plans to Community Boards, the Landmarks Preservation and Art Commissions for their review and approval. This process will continue unaltered.

Advisory boards comprised of community residents work with the Conservancy on a range of projects and issues. They include the following, and will be expanded as projects and programs create the need: The Upper Park Community Advisory Committee, the Woodlands Advisory Board, the Great Lawn Advisory Committee, the Central Park Recreation Roundtable, the North Meadow Recreation Center Advisory Committee, the Public Programs Community Advisory Committee, and the Frederick Douglass Circle Community Advisory Committee.

- New York City Department of Parks & Recreation retains policy control, has discretion over all user permits and events in the Park,

- provides 20 percent of the field staff.

- the Conservancy has overseen the investment of more than $530 million into Central Park, of which $110 million - more than 1/5 of the budget -was contributed by the City. - - The Conservancy has also prescribed and carried out a restoration management plan for the Park;

- managed the capital restoration of much of the Park's landscapes and facilities;

- created programs for volunteers and visitors;

- and set new standards of excellence in Park care.

- It has transformed Central Park into a model for urban parks worldwide.

- Helping other parks is a natural extension of the Conservancy's core mission. As such, it provides technical, management and fundraising advice to park systems around the country and world.

- Conservancy crews care for 250 acres of lawns, 24,000 trees, 150 acres of lakes and streams and 130 acres of woodlands; install hundreds of thousands of plantings annually, including bulbs, shrubs, flowers and trees; maintain 9,000 benches, 26 ballfields and 21 playgrounds; preserve 55 sculptures and monuments, as well as 36 bridges; remove graffiti within 24 hours; collect over 5 million pounds of trash a year; and provide horticultural support to City parks.

New York Parks and Rec newsletter

- includes info about rinks and history of rinks in the city

- “red balloon day” to notify people that skating was open Annual reports

Financial and legal information

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- includes Conservancy By-laws

By-laws effective as of December 16, 2009 (PDF) IRS forms

- contacts

Home > About > News This section contains press releases, recent publications on Central Park and PR contact information.

Press Contact Information Please direct all inquiries to the Public Relations Manager at 212-310-6638 Department e-mail: Department Fax: 212-310-6637

Interviews with Park Experts

The Central Park Conservancy's expert staff are available to be interviewed by the media on topics such as soil science, wildlife preservation, landscape architecture, nature photography, man-made ecosystems, and much more. Please consider a Conservancy expert your "go to" person for any upcoming print or broadcast stories. Experts include:

  • Douglas Blonsky - Central Park Conservancy President
  • Sara Cedar Miller - Central Park Historian and Photographer
  • Neil Calvanese - Vice President for Operations

Please contact the Public Relations Department to schedule an interview.

Filming and Photography in Central Park

Filming news, stand-ups, movie shoots, commercial shoots, or any general story in Central Park NOT related to news about the Central Park Conservancy requires that a permit be obtained from BOTH the Mayor's Office of Film and Television and the Central Park Conservancy's Operations Department.

Learn more about filming and photography guidelines for Central Park.

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