Saturday, March 22, 2014
Meet the new Parks commissioner
The new city parks commissioner was introduced by the de Blasio administration Friday as an "internationally-renowned planning director and expert who has worked extensively on parks policy."
The language might have been a bit grandiose for Mitchell Silver, who had been the chief of planning and development for Raleigh, N.C., but he is being asked by Mayor Bill de Blasio to fulfill a substantial mission: to bring "a holistic perspective" to the city’s parks and infrastructure, "while also expanding access, sustainability and public health initiatives throughout the city’s 29,000 acres of parkland," according to the mayor's office.
At a press conference in Seward Park in the Lower East Side—the city's first municipally funded open space, according to Mr. de Blasio—Mr. Silver was introduced as "visionary" who will bring a deep expertise in urban planning and a "passion for fairness" to the job.
"He's someone who's devoted his career to thinking where we need to go, and then finding ways to get it done," Mr. de Blasio said.
Mr. Silver's appointment had been anxiously awaited by many in the parks community, who fretted over Mr. de Blasio's slow decision-making. A native of Brooklyn, Mr. Silver worked as a planning official on several New York projects, including the Harlem-on-the-River redevelopment and the Jamaica Center in Queens, before decamping to Raleigh nine years ago.