Wed. Jul 6th, 2022

Parks and pandemic recovery were at the top of the agenda in New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ first “state of the city” speech, which her predecessors used to announce big-ticket items.

No major new policy came up during her remarks at York College in Queens, though there was plenty of fanfare, including multiple musical performances before she took the stage.

“In every borough, neighborhoods facing barriers to health, housing and opportunity have been among those most harmed by this pandemic,” Adams said.

With that, the Queens Democrat launched into her priorities for the annual budget that lawmakers will finalize in the coming weeks.

Those include $ 250 million for five new health care centers. She’s also planning $ 3 million for “mental health resources” for communities hit the “hardest” by the pandemic.

Adams repeated calls for an annual investment of about $ 4 billion in additional funding for affordable housing, roughly double the amount in Mayor Adams’ preliminary budget.

“We understand how difficult a budget cycle that we’re in and we’m going to invest in NYCHA continuously, but we need help from Albany. We need help in Washington DC, ”Mayor Adams (no relation to the speaker) said when asked about the funding on Friday.

Speaker Adams called for more green space, but stopped short of demanding 1% of the city budget go to the Parks Department.

On the campaign trail, Mayor Adams promised that level of investment, but the preliminary budget came to about 0.5%. Parks advocates have demanded more cash, with the mayor saying he’s receptive to that.

“The Council will push the city to develop new micro-parks and green spaces in underserved neighborhoods,” said Speaker Adams.

Amid an ongoing spike in violent crime, she shied away from drastic policy proposals on policing. Adams promised to “invest in responding to those experiencing severe emotional distress with appropriate emergency health responses,” among other measures.

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