WCS Thanks NYC for Restoring Funds for the Bronx Zoo, NY Aquarium, and Other City Cultural Institutions

More than 34,000 Messages Sent to City Hall


(June 17, 2009) —The following statement was released today by Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President John Calvelli:

“The Wildlife Conservation Society thanks Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Majority Leader Joel Rivera, Chairman Dominic Recchia and the delegations from all five boroughs for recognizing the economic importance of the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium and all of the city’s cultural institutions. Their decision to restore our funding is testament to the fact that the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium and our partners in the Cultural Institutions Group are what help to make our city great.
 
We also appreciated greatly the support throughout this budget process from the City Council delegations and their leadership, including: Gale A. Brewer and Daniel R. Garodnick, both of Manhattan; Maria Baez of the Bronx; Leroy G. Comrie, Jr. of Queens; Erik Martin Dilan of Brooklyn; and James S. Oddo of Staten Island

The effects of the global economic crisis on all of the city’s cultural institutions continue, and this funding will ensure that we remain powerful economic drivers for our communities and neighborhoods. We create jobs and bring business vitally important to our local businesses.
 
We know the Mayor and the City Council were faced with difficult decisions during their budget negotiations. We also know they heard the many thousands of voices from New Yorkers asking that our funding get restored. In the past few months, more than 34,000 messages were sent to City Hall including 7,400 emails sent directly to Speaker Quinn, and another 51 letters sent by community groups and businesses.
 
We thank everyone who petitioned City Hall. The overwhelming community support is what made the difference.
 
LIST OF COMMUNITY GROUPS AND BUSINESS PETITIONING CITY HALL
Cyclone Roller Coaster; New York League of Conservation Voters; Living and Learning by the Arts; Literacy, Inc.; New York State Institute on Disability; American Media Concepts Inc.; Interwest United Insurance Brokerage, Inc.; South Brooklyn Youth Consortium Inc.; Friends of Van Cortlandt Park; Parkside Senior Center; Riverdale Senor Services, Inc.; Van Cortlandt Jewish Center; Jackson Avenue Block Association; Phipps Community Development Corp.; Bronx Chamber of Commerce; Fort Schuyler House: Hutchinson Metro Center; Morris Park Community Association; North East Bronx Senior Citizens Center; Our Lady of the Assumption School; Preston High School; RAIN Boston Road Senior Center; St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf; Throggs Neck Merchant Association; Waterbury LaSalle Community Association; Bronx River Art Center; Fordham Road Business Improvement District; Brooklyn Community Board 8; Heart of Brooklyn; Bronx Community Board 1; H.O.G.A.R. Senior Case Assistance; South Bronx Action Group; Sustainable South Bronx; Brighton Neighborhood Association; Broken Ankle Productions, Inc.; Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson; Westchester Community Opportunity Program; Community Mayors; Heart Gallery NYC; TSUNAMI Hospital Foundation; Bronx Community Board 11; Hunt’s Pt. Economic Development Corp.
           
Wildlife Conservation Society Economic Impact Facts

A break down of a $414.6 million economic impact on NYC by WCS looks like this:
  • $285,800,000, due to operational expenditures
  • $76,200,000, due to capital expenditures
  • $52,560,000, due to expenditures by visitors.
All the institutions managed by WCS in New York City are the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo, as well as the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn.

Specific positive economic impacts of the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium include:
  • More than 4 million visitors come to our facilities each year.  The Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium are both located in underserved areas.
  • WCS offers free Wednesday admission to all at the Bronx Zoo and free Friday afternoons at the New York Aquarium. 
  • We are one of the largest youth employers in the Bronx. (400 at Bronx Zoo; 100 at New York Aquarium). 
  • In FY 08, we hired 800 seasonal employees at the Bronx Zoo, including students, retirees, and people on public assistance.
  • The New York Aquarium welcomes more visitors each year than any other cultural institution in Brooklyn. 
  • WCS is the only cultural institution located in four of New York’s five boroughs.
Additional added value from WCS to the City, beyond the parks:
  • WCS provides advice and services for public health and animal control in the City and throughout the region.
  • WCS is the principal repository in the region for snake anti-venin. 
  • And in this world city, where global health issues can become local ones in no time, WCS chairs the New York City interagency task force on wildlife diseases and human public health.


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide.  We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.  WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org


Special Note to Media: John Calvelli is available for interviews by calling the contacts listed above.

Contact
Mary Dixon (1-347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org)
Steve Fairchild (1-718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org)



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