Great news: Funding For Kathleen has been restored! Will return as soon as Monday!
What a testimony to this neighborhood and for its love for Kathleen Henderson, Carroll Park's much beloved Playground Associate. When it seemed as though funding for Kathleen would not be found for her position as recreational organizer this summer, local residents immediately reacted by reaching out to the Park's Department and to local politicians.
to help restore her position. Below is a statement from Brad's office:
Councilmember Brad Lander
June 9, 2011
I'm very pleased to let you know about the restoration of the Carroll Park playground associate position of Kathleen Henderson, better known to many of you as the "den mother of Carroll Park." Kathleen is a treasure of the Carroll Gardens community. She not only does fantastic arts and recreation projects with the kids, but helps keep Carroll Park safe & welcoming for all.
As soon as I heard from some of you that her position had not been renewed for the summer, I reached out to the Brooklyn Parks Department. I'm very happy to report that Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Kevin Jeffries and Chief of Staff Marty Maher were immediately responsive, and found a way to restore her position starting Monday, June 20th. Thanks so much to them for helping to make this happen.
But we are not out of the water here. The Parks Department has been cut deeply over the past few years -- from about 8,000 employees in 2007 to fewer than 5,000 today. And Mayor Bloomberg is proposing substantial additional cuts for the budget year that starts July 1st, including cuts of more than $10 million for seasonal workers like Kathleen. If those cuts go through, we may shortly find ourself right back in this position.
Right now, the City Council is busy negotiating (in this case, a nice word for fighting) with the Bloomberg Administration over this year's budget. We are trying to find a way to restore many of the cuts the mayor has proposed -- 4,000 teachers, 20 fire companies, over 10,000 day care slots, public library closures and hour reductions, and on and on, including playground associates. There are other, better, smart choices ... including tapping into the City's rainy-day fund, controlling contract spending, and extending the "millionaire' s tax" (which is set to expire on December 31st).
You can help. Call Mayor Bloomberg at 311 and ask him to restore funding for playground associates like Kathleen (and, while you're at it, for teachers, fire companies, day care, and libraries). Hopefully, with enough pressure, we will be able to pass a budget by June 30th that restores funding for Kathleen's position (and much else) for next year.
For now, I'm thrilled that Kathleen will be back in Caroll Park on Monday, June 20th.
I am sure you will join me in thanking our Councilman, Borough Parks
Commissioner Kevin Jeffries and Chief of Staff Marty Maher
for understanding how important Kathleen is not only to Carroll Park, but also to the community.
See you in the park on Monday for a 'Welcome Back Party' for Kathleen, everyone?