COMPLETE VIDEO – Open Space Dialogues: Reconstructing the Capital Process

Live Panel Discussion Image Credit: Center for New York City Law

On September 12, 2019, the Center for New York City Law welcomed New Yorkers for Parks back to New York Law School for another installment of their Open Space Dialogues. The event was kicked off by Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks Lynn B. Kelly, with welcoming remarks by Center for New York City Law’s Associate Director Brian J. Kaszuba, Esq. The topic of yesterday’s Open Space Dialogues was “Reconstructing the Capital Process.”


Brooklyn Bridge Park, Williamsbridge Oval, Lyons Square Playground, Estella Diggs Park: all were constructed or renovated in major capital projects recently. The ribbon-cutting of a park opening is one of the most joyous sights in New York City, but the process to get to that celebratory moment is sometimes lengthy, expensive, and confusing. When NY4P released a report in 2014 on capital projects management, anecdotal concerns about parks capital projects coalesced into a citywide conversation. Since then, NYC Parks has improved their operations. Alongside, political pressure and the growth of resident-involvement programs, like Participatory Budgeting, have ratcheted up New Yorkers’ expectations of the speed, public involvement, quality, and cost-efficiency of parks capital projects. The time is ripe to consider the successes, as well as the room for improvement, in New York City’s parks capital process.

Speakers addressed:

  • What is the Capital Process for the Parks Department?
  • What is the procurement process and how can we improve it?
  • What is participatory budgeting and how can it be used to help improve parks?
  • How does the Contractor bid process work?
  • How do public/private partnerships work within the Capital Process?
  • What are the current needs within the Parks Department?


The panel was comprised of Susan M. Donoghue, President & Park Administrator of the Prospect Park Alliance; Diane Jackier, Chief of Capital Strategies Initiative of NYC Parks; Charles McKinney, Practical Visionary; Lynn B. Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks; Celestre Frye, Founder & CEO of Public Works Partners; Jennifer Godenzo, Senior Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project. The program was moderated by Editorial & Policy Director of the Center for an Urban Future, Eli Dvorkin.

To watch the complete video of the event, click here or see below.


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