Marcus Garvey Park

Marcus Garvey Park

Park/Recreation Area


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At Marcus Garvey Park in central Harlem, the Catalyst Program both increased the commitment of NYC Parks, while also spurring community ownership of the park by uniting the disparate interests of community members, politicians, and other local constituents. At a 2002 Community Visioning Workshop, PfP's Catalyst Coordinator brought together nearly 35 different organizations, community groups, businesses, political leaders, and various individuals in a moderated setting to give these groups a chance to approach the park on equal footing and to formulate goals across three broad categories: park improvements, park activity, and outreach and communication. In the months after the meeting, community members formed a new Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and three committees to carry out the necessary steps to reach their goals were formed.

PfP’s work to spur community support and private investment also leveraged resources from both City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks to enrich the park. CPF produced an annual concert series and children’s arts and education programming at the park, while we worked with community partners to attract the popular Charlie Parker Jazz Festival and other locally sponsored programs to Marcus Garvey. In 1998, when we started targeting intensive resources and programming around the park, CPF was the primary producer of arts programming. By the end of the Catalyst grant cycle, thanks to our efforts to increase community-sponsored events and programs, by summer 2009, 60 percent of the park’s programming was locally produced. The Catalyst Program, in concert with the community, also raised private funds for a full-time gardener, who worked with community groups to transform many of the barren slopes into more vibrant green spaces. These physical improvements encouraged a steady flow of both capital money and volunteers, and have made the park-dedicated gardener, now supported through city funds, a permanent part of NYC Park’s staffing.


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The new amphitheatre at Marcus Garvey Park.

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