This past November, every elected official that represents Maspeth signed onto a letter from Council Member Elizabeth Crowley to State Department of Parks Commissioner Carol Ash requesting that money from the Environmental Protection Fund be put toward the acquisition of the St. Saviour’s site.
While the electeds were waiting to hear back from the state, the residents in the vicinity of the site listed amenities that they would like to see at the proposed park site. A rendering was created based on their input and is pictured above. Their goal is to have a passive park with a playground for children up to 10 years old.
Ms. Ash responded to the letter from Crowley in February. She said that the project would be eligible for monies from the part of the fund that applies to creation of parkland in underserved urban areas, but that Governor David Paterson removed those funds from his budget proposal for the upcoming year. Cuts to the Environmental Protection Fund also threaten zoos, botanical gardens and aquaria. Some state parks are threatened with closure.
The State Assembly circulated a letter asking that Governor Paterson reinstate all of the $222M to the Environmental Protection Fund. Assembly Members Markey and Hevesi were among the many assemblypersons who signed it.
During the Great Depression, many new parks were created. But back then, there was a lot more open space than there is now. It would be a shame to lose the opportunity to create new parkland in Maspeth, especially since there is hardly any open land left upon which to do so.
As budget negotiations continue, we urge all our elected officials to fight to restore these funds. Present and future generations of Maspeth are counting on you.