To the editor:
(re: “Vannie Park alliance plans first fundraiser,” May 30)
As this paper reported recently, the Van Cortlandt Park Alliance held its inaugural fundraising event in the park on June 11. It was an amazing evening in the Bronx’s most important park.
The alliance is the result of the carefully planned merger of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park — which I chaired until this January — and Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy. The merger of the two organizations into a major new park conservancy has been my goal for years, and I am completely thrilled to see it complete and off to such a great start.
But there is much work to be done to create a multi-billion dollar conservancy that has the capacity to work with the city to implement the entire 2034 Master Plan. There are simply not enough public dollars available to put Van Cortlandt Park in the condition that the communities around it deserve.
For better or worse, therefore, the alliance must grow into a major fundraising conservancy and park advocate like those charities that are already raising hundreds of millions of dollars annually for Central Park, Riverside Park, Prospect Park, Hudson River Park, and other flagship parks in the city.
The alliance is already doing some of this work, for example, by maintaining the lawn and new native-plant garden at West 261st Street with private donations. But there is much work to be done.
The city is in the process of building fabulous new park facilities at Mosholu Avenue and West 242nd Street. The long-sought daylighting of Tibbetts Brook may come next.
Proper maintenance of these facilities and natural areas is vital. I therefore encourage this newspaper to take a renewed interest in reporting on the needs of the park, and encourage readers to support the work of the alliance through donations and volunteerism.
So much work went into the alliance by the steering committee for the merger, the staffs of both predecessor organizations (most of whom have transitioned to the new alliance, including Christina Taylor), our government officials (particularly Andy Cohen and Iris Rodriguez-Rosa), and the former board members of both predecessor organizations.
I know they all shared my deep joy at seeing the alliance a reality for the first time at the inaugural fundraising event.