BP Katz: “Fair to All Applicants, Allows City to Establish Official Policy, Criteria and Process for Community Input”

QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to questions about the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s denial of all current applications by for-profit companies to hold paid-admission music festivals this summer in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park:

“Mayor de Blasio’s decision today is both fair to all applicants and allows the City to first establish an official policy as to whether and how we shut down and rent out public parks to for-profit companies. Events of any scale that enhance our borough are encouraged. The use of our public parks, however, need to be publicly vetted and coordinated under an official city policy, because the absence of one renders the entire process unfair.  The merits – or lack thereof – of any existing or future individual application cannot be fairly considered in the void of policy and public participation, which are paramount. I look forward to reviewing the subsequent policies crafted on a selection criteria and a process for community input that will be used to consider future proposals.”

In an op-ed published in El Diario on December 3, 2015, Borough President Katz outlined the concerns and the need for policy and public vetting to come first before any permits are granted to for-profit companies to hold large-scale, paid-admission, multi-day events that effectively shut down a park to the public: www.eldiariony.com/2015/12/03/new-york-citys-public-parks-to-rent-or-not-to-rent.

In a statement on November 2, 2015, Borough President first outlined her concerns, stating: “While public events of any scale that enhance our borough are encouraged, I take issue when it is at the expense of cutting off public access to our treasured parks like Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which is enjoyed by thousands of families and residents every week in the summer months. Doing so without a public review process would fly in the face of the very principle behind our public parks, which is space designated for public access and equity. It has never been done before in Queens, and without a fair city policy approved by the community to properly shape this significant precedent, we should not start now.” Full statement online at www.queensbp.org/borough-president-katz-on-proposals-to-rent-flushing-meadows-corona-park/.