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BY A.J. PIETRANTONE | When you reflect on the progress of Hudson River Park’s development, and the goal to reclaim Manhattan’s West Side waterfront for the public, it’s hard to discount the number of activists, public officials and community members who have played a role in that progress, many of whom are still somehow involved today. It’s obvious that Hudson River Park has many friends.
We are excited to be building on that strong foundation of friends to create the expanded support base that Hudson River Park needs to fulfill the dreams we espoused two decades ago when the park was first designated by then Governor Mario Cuomo and Mayor Dinkins in 1992. As Manhattan’s second largest and most visited park after Central Park, Hudson River Park presents the public with a unique opportunity to secure the park’s future as the nation’s premier waterfront park.
Hudson River Park Trust President Madelyn Wils convincingly points out that we need a new generation of friends to step forward and help us marshal the necessary resources to make a completed and sustainable Hudson River Park a reality for all. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for old friends — which is precisely why our organization chose to both adapt, and refocus our efforts to develop the necessary private-sector fundraising program that the park needs and deserves.
Now, as the park’s primary fundraising partner, we have embarked on a coordinated and deliberate strategy to address both the capital and operational financing challenges that stand in the way, and provide more opportunities for friends to get involved with the park they love.
In that vein, our board has doubled its own financial commitment to support the park.
Also, we have expanded staff capacity to reach out in a bigger way to develop the proper resource base and connect with the community on a broader level than ever before.
In addition, we are refining our communications programs to take advantage of a combined focus, new technology and the millions of park users to spread our story.
We are also expanding volunteer opportunities in order to engage our friends in stewardship opportunities, as well as stretch available resources.
Hudson River Park is a cherished amenity for all of New York and its visitors. We are thrilled to be leading the charge to further enhance the public-private partnership that makes this exciting park possible, and are committed to making sure it remains that way for generations to come.
Pietrantone is executive director, Friends of Hudson River Park