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Queens Chronicle

Liu puts kibosh on Central Park deal

Comptroller nixes $90M contract, calling for a more equitable share

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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 12:56 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

City Comptroller and former Flushing Councilman John Liu nixed a contract that would have lined the already crowded pockets of the Central Park Conservancy with $90 million in taxpayer funds, portraying the deal as inequitable and unfair for other parks in desperate need of funding.

“Central Park is very important to New York and is indeed an icon of our City. However, the City should do more to ensure that parks across the five boroughs are being funded adequately and equitably,” Liu said in a statement.

“The City should provide funding for basic maintenance and much-needed capital projects across all parks before sending this much-needed taxpayer money to a well-funded private organization. Let’s work together to maintain Central Park and provide equity among all of our parks.”

Liu’s move comes at a sensitive time for the borough, as a series of hearings mulling projects for Queens’ marquee park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, have consumed the schedules of some public officials.

Chief among the concerns is the creation of a new conservancy for the Park, as the current one has only $5,000 on hand.

Liu sent the $90 million contract back, suggesting the Bloomberg administration consider other ways to viably distribute the taxpayer largess to parks in dire need — including FMCP.

The comptroller’s office is also reviewing another $60 million in construction funds slated for the CPC.

“It just had the sort of deal that everybody would love to have,” Liu said in a phone interview. “I love Central Park and Central Park is an icon of New York. We don’t begrudge it. But the thing is we’ve made a number of recommendations that would make the distribution of funds more equitable.”

The comptroller called for more funding to be allocated to higher-need parks, as well as encouraging the CPC to support other parks.

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