Corporation Gets Naming Right for NYC Park

Monday, October 03, 2011

Planters Park ready for its debut. (Channon Hodge/WNYC)

The struggling New York City Housing Authority is relying on the generosity of corporations to help build parks on its properties — and giving naming rights in return.

An 8,000 square foot grassy field at the Lillian Wald Houses in the East Village has been turned into an environmentally sensitive park that will open Monday with the name, Planters Grove Park.

The nut company, Planters, made a donation to two civic groups, the Green City Force and Corps Network, that created the park, and paid for the landscape architect, Ken Smith.

One tenant, Walesca Quinones said she doesn't mind the corporate name. "I like it. I got my children, and most of the time people really put the projects down. At least they have a good look now."

A spokeswoman for NYCHA said it's the first time open space owned by the housing authority has been named after a sponsor. She said the arrangement only made sense given the tough economic times.

A NYC Parks Department spokesman said no parks are currently named after corporate sponsors, though Bulova Park in Queens got its name from the watch company that donated the land. It was renamed Moser Park more than 25 years ago, but its original name is still frequently used.

A youth volunteer group, Green City Force, helped to build the park, which features a boardwalk and a garden that recycles rain water.  

It's the third park that Planters has sponsored nation-wide this year.


Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Planters donated money directly to the NYCHA. Planters did not make a direct donation to the NYCHA, but made donations to two civic groups that created the park and paid for the landscape architect.


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