By Sabina Mollot
After a nearly five-month break since he left the City Council, where he represented Manhattan’s fourth district for 12 years, Peter Cooper Village resident Dan Garodnick now has a new job.
On Tuesday, the Riverside Park Conservancy’s board of trustees announced that Garodnick was appointed the conservancy’s new chief executive officer and president. Additionally, the new role involves quite a bit of fundraising for the park, which runs for six miles along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s western edge.
According to the official announcement, Garodnick has been tasked with leading a multi-year fundraising campaign. The goal is to double the size of the conservancy’s program of horticultural care in targeted geographic zones of the park, in particular in the northern half of the park, which runs up to the George Washington Bridge.
Additionally, the 79th Street Boat Basin and the popular riverfront restaurant facility located there are in need of upgrades and the renovation of a community field house at 102nd Street is still unfinished. The conservancy also hopes to get government and philanthropic funding for a major repair of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument at 91st Street at some point.
The conservancy, which today has a budget of $6 million, contributes half of the current costs for park operations; employs a staff of 30, including 15 of the park’s eighteen gardeners; and runs a summer sports program serving more than 1,000 children. In addition to Riverside Park and Riverside Park South, the Conservancy helps care for Sakura Park, West Harlem Piers Park and parts of Fort Washington Park.
Asked what made him get involved in the world of park conservancy, Garodnick said, “This is a natural extension of my years building coalitions and delivering positive outcomes for public spaces. Not only does Riverside Park have remarkable physical beauty, but it also covers six miles of territory across diverse communities. I am honored to serve as a champion for such an important New York institution, and am looking forward to this next chapter in my public service.”