New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced two infrastructure investments in early October that amount to a total of $201 million. Most recently, the mayor said the city would spend $173 million to upgrade 35 community parks in densely populated neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. Separately, he announced plans to invest $28 million to install a total of 6.25 megawatts of solar power on the rooftops of 24 public schools by 2016.

The first phase of the City Parks Initiative will use $130 million in capital funding to promote the full re-creation of the parks; $7.2 million in expense funding for fiscal year 2015; and $36.3 million in stormwater management funds from the Dept. of Environmental Protection for green infrastructure improvements at these sites.

“This is a framework that will address system-wide needs for park equity with solutions that have lasting and resilient results for our city’s neighborhoods,” de Blasio said in an October 7 statement. The first phase is part of the NYC Parks: Framework for an Equitable Future program aimed at increasing the accessibility and quality of the city’s parks through a combination of immediate and long-term initiatives.

Separately, the city intends to triple the amount of solar power planned for city-owned buildings and lower its carbon footprint through the administration’s newly launched green building initiative, dubbed One City, Built to Last.

Under this phase of the program, the city will spend $23 million in city funds and about $5 million in grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative. The Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services and the New York Power Authority will team up with the Dept. of Education to implement the projects.

The school installations are the first step in the mayor’s 10-year plan to retrofit all city-owned buildings that consume significant amounts of energy. The plan includes installing 100 megawatts of solar power and has a long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

The city also hopes to spur the private sector to invest in efficiency upgrades and add 250 MW of solar power on private buildings.

De Blasio made the announcement on September 29 outside the John F. Kennedy Educational Campus in the Bronx. The school has a rooftop solar installation that city plans to use as a model for others.

Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Mayor
Green Vision: In two separate programs, the city will invest in green infrastructure at parks and in solar energy at public schools.