Half of Park Projects Finish Behind Schedule

NEW YORK, N.Y. -

The Parks Department’s failure to monitor its capital construction projects had allowed almost half of those projects to finish late and 10 percent to go significantly over budget in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The announcement was made Friday by City Comptroller John C. Liu.

“New Yorkers and visitors alike love our parks. Repairs and upgrades must be better managed not only to reduce wasteful spending but also to minimize the duration of park closures,” Liu said. “The Parks Department can do better.”

In FY2010-FY2011, the Parks Department completed 315 capital construction projects at a cost of $496.3 million. An audit found that 149 (47 percent) of those projects finished late, 218 days on average, and that 30 projects combined to rack up $10 million in cost overruns, above the additional $8.6 million in contingency allowances for overruns that they burned through.

Despite spending $4 million to correct consultants’ design errors and omissions on various projects, the Parks Department did not use its right to try and recoup the money.

The comptroller’s Audit Bureau launched the audit in response to numerous complaints, including calls to the comptroller’s (212) NO-WASTE hotline, and after independently assessing that an examination of the agency’s capital projects was warranted.

The audit recommended several steps that the Parks Department should take to better ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

For example, the audit recommended that the department flag projects for priority completion so that delayed work can be expedited.