New York Restoration Project
Commission AmeriCorps State FY 2011
New York City comprises 5 boroughs and 59 districts, spread over nearly 195,000 acres. Within this city of neighborhoods are crammed 8.2 million people; that number is projected to swell to over nine million by 2030. Already the population strains our existing infrastructure and local ecology. Though the city has, over the past three decades, undergone major revitalization, focusing on maintenance and restoration, community reinvestment, cleaning and replanting parks, and removing litter from streets and subways), much remains to be done. There are still hundreds of vacant lots in neighborhoods that have no public green space, still parks that languish as dumping grounds rather than the centers of activity and community life they should be, still children who have no safe space to play outside or any sense of the natural world around them. The environmental needs in this city are great, but so is the city's potential for greatness. While each neighborhood faces unique pressures, the environment is a shared possession and concern for all New Yorkers. New York Restoration Project (NYRP) recognizes the growing challenges faced by NYC communities as a result of population growth and a degraded natural environment. NYRP works predominantly in low-income communities throughout the five boroughs to address these challenges, focusing on three main areas of environmental restoration: parks, community gardens, and trees, with educational and community programming undergirding each. Since our founding in 1995, NYRP has: * Restored six city parks, turning them from forbidding dumping grounds into safe and welcoming public spaces * Transformed 55 abandoned lots into vibrant community gardens * Hauled away more than four million pounds of garbage from the city's open spaces in fifteen years * Planted over 400,000 trees in three years, in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Mayor's Office, through the MillionTreesNYC initiative * Offered free education and outdoor programs annually to thousands of children and families * Engaged more than 3,000 volunteers per year to clean and green NYC. In NYRP's relatively short history, we have made great strides, but the challenges to the city's environment, health, and economy remain, particularly in our most neglected neighborhoods. An annual deployment of Americorps members, working side by side with our full-time staff, will make a difference.