Volume 81, Number 7| July 14 - 20, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Trust is set to vote on Friends morphing into park’s fundraiser

By Aline Reynolds

The Friends of Hudson River Park, a nonprofit organization committed to Hudson River Park’s development and upkeep, is poised to become its primary, private fundraising arm in the near future.

The Hudson River Park Trust, the park’s governing city-state authority, currently brings in $15 million annually for operating funds generated from leases, permits, ball field fees and parking charges. But the Trust needs more money to fund completion of the 5-mile-long park’s construction, keep up operations and expand programming.

In accordance with a new agreement with the Trust, the Friends are to raise a minimum of $1 million for the park by next March and $10 million by 2014. The Trust will provide a recoverable grant of $500,000 to help jumpstart the fundraising efforts.

Pam Frederick, a member of the Trust’s board of directors, who presented the plan at the June 20 meeting of Community Board 1’s Waterfront Committee, alluded to the poor economy in terms of the park’s commercial opportunities.

“This is intended to fill that gap,” she said of the Friends’ fundraising efforts.

The new relationship between the Friends and the Trust will entail the creation of a joint committee that will develop a strategic plan for the park, advise on budget matters and devise fundraising methods and financial benchmarks for the Friends. The nonprofit group will also hire a consultant to assist with the fundraising.

“It’s not complex, when you think about it — the Friends of Hudson River Park is a nonprofit that raises the money and the Trust is an agency that runs the park,” explained Frederick. “The mission of this whole thing is to raise private capital for the park.”

The Friends will relocate to Pier 40, at West Houston St., once the new setup is in place. The Trust will vote on the partnership proposal at its July 21 board meeting.

C.B. 1’s Waterfront Committee passed a resolution supporting the park partnership, saying it will “ensure that monies are available for programming, operation and maintenance of Hudson River Park.”

“It’s really crowded in Hudson River Park these days. It’s turning out to be an amazing waterfront,” said the committee’s chairperson, Bob Townley, who also heads the Hudson River Park Advisory Council. “We’re hopefully going to see that this working relationship bears some fruit.”

However, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, for one, has urged that the Friends not give up its dual role as the park’s main advocacy and watchdog group to become its fundraiser.


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