Despite improvements in basic conditions in public parks, MPC recognizes that Bronx parks could use further enhancements. The absence of attractive and diverse gardens still separates many Bronx parks from their more eye-catching Manhattan counterparts.
Considering horticulture to be a necessary part of any well-maintained park, MPC is cooperating with other local groups to plant new gardens and better maintain those already flowering in six parks in Community District 7: Williamsbridge Oval Playground, Whalen Park, Mosholu Parkway, Poe Park, St. James Park and Devoe Park.
The program hires two interns, one experienced in horticulture and one with organizing skills, to manage planting operations during spring and autumn. These interns help design gardens, based on each park’s individual needs and possibilities, and coordinate volunteers, Summer Youth Employment Program participants and others to help with planting and maintenance.
Besides creating new gardens, MPC’s Horticulture in Parks Program adds structure to already-scheduled park cleanup efforts ensuring that the results of those efforts are not lost after a few days. To do this, MPC will employ a seasonal calendar, beginning with community outreach activities in February and March and ending with mulching and preparation for the winter freeze in October.
MPC’s Cut the Crap campaign helps to reduce dog waste on Williamsbridge Oval pathways and elsewhere in the neighborhood primarily through providing baggies and education. MPC has expanded the project into other areas.
Grants from foundations and the New York State Legislature have enabled MPC to enrich the surrounding landscape by planting new trees and taking steps to protect existing greenery. The Gateways Project, implemented by MPC in 1997 as an extension of Montefiore’s Campus Improvement Program, served as an important vehicle for the expansion of the Corporation’s planting efforts.
MPC regularly seeks to educate residents about the necessity of tree planting and protection. More than once, the editorial staff of the Norwood News has raised its voice against tree vandalism and the all-too-common gaping holes where trees once stood. Whenever possible, MPC encourages Bronxites to speak up about the need for greener streets in their neighborhoods.