DOT’s plaza program has brought new public spaces to neighborhoods across the city, and even most City Council members can appreciate that. To ensure that the new plazas don’t deteriorate after implementation, the city only installs them if a local partner pledges to maintain the space. Sometimes, finding a maintenance partner can be challenging — and this is especially the case in less affluent parts of the city.
In an article today celebrating public plazas, Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman mentioned a new program that DOT is developing to provide assistance to communities looking to maintain their plaza space:
The Transportation Department is working with the Horticultural Society of New York and the nonprofit ACE Programs for the Homeless to develop a jobs initiative in which ex-convicts and homeless people provide horticultural services and general upkeep. Communities pay on a sliding scale for the help.
Last September, Streetsblog reported from a community board meeting about a proposed plaza in Astoria where DOT said it was developing the program. Details aren’t available yet, but it looks like a promising initiative for areas where a well-funded business improvement district or partner isn’t there to take on plaza maintenance.