Parks and pandemic recovery were at the top of the agenda in New York City Council President Adrienne Adams’ first “state of the city” address, which her predecessors used to announce important items.
No major new politics surfaced during his remarks at York College in Queens, though there was plenty of fanfare, including multiple musical performances before he took the stage.
“In every county, neighborhoods facing barriers to health, housing and opportunity are among the hardest hit 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. It is also planning $3 million for “mental health resources” for communities hardest hit 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 we are in and we are going to continually invest in NYCHA, but we need Albany’s help. We need help in Washington DC,” said Mayor Adams (no relation to the speaker) when asked about the funding on Friday.
Speaker Adams called for more green space, but stopped short of requiring that 1% of the city budget go to the Parks Department.
During the election campaign, Mayor Adams promised that level of investment, but the preliminary budget came to around 0.5%. Park advocates have demanded more cash, and the mayor says 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 a continuing rise in violent crime, he backed away from drastic policy proposals on surveillance. Adams promised to “invest in responding to those experiencing severe emotional distress with appropriate emergency health responses,” among other measures.