UW Madison alum takes the helm at New Yorkers for Parks: Adam Ganser

New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P), the citywide advocate for parks and open space, announced that its Board of Directors has named Adam Ganser as its next executive director, starting Monday, May 11. NY4P is the only citywide nonprofit parks and open space advocacy organization.

Ganser is currently the vice president of planning and design for the High Line, a renowned public park built over a historic elevated rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. He joins NY4P at an unprecedented time when demand for and the importance of parks and open spaces is perhaps more important than ever, but also when City funding to support services is strained by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“Adam is well-known for his vision, passion and ability to engage a wide array of stakeholders to move monumental projects forward that result in magnificent open, public spaces. His skills and experience are exactly what we need now to move NY4P’s mission forward. We are excited to have Adam join NY4P and have great faith in his ability to lead this organization.” said Paul Gottsegen, co-chair of the Board of Directors and acting executive director.

“I am thrilled to be joining the NY4P team. There has never been a more critical time for parks and open spaces in New York City and beyond. Current circumstances magnify our need to push and think creatively to care for existing parks, and to develop more open spaces for all New Yorkers. NY4P’s voice will be essential in that effort. I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running and building on last year’s historic NY4P advocacy wins,” said Adam Ganser.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Mayor’s executive budget release, which included cuts to parks maintenance and the closure of Parks Department pools and the elimination of summer camp programs across the city. Playgrounds and sports leagues had previously been shut due to the pandemic.

In response to the proposed budget, NY4P issued a statement saying, “Children, families and individuals will need our parks even more. And while the need is city-wide, it is especially acute in underserved areas that have been hardest hit by COVID19. That’s why we are calling on the Mayor and City Council to ensure we have the staffing and funding to ensure all our parks and open spaces are clean, properly maintained and safe for all New Yorkers.”

During Ganser’s 10-year tenure, the High Line has become one of the world’s most visited and celebrated public parks. Ganser led a team of designers and a network of public and private stakeholders to plan, design and build the third section of the park, which surrounds Hudson Yards. He managed the High Line’s partnership with New York City government, including the Parks Department, and oversaw the negotiation of critical agreements to ensure the High Line’s completion.

He was also instrumental in launching and developing the High Line Network, a national peer-to-peer consortium of infrastructure reuse projects and leaders who develop best practices and advocate for policy initiatives that engender positive social, environmental and economic impacts.

Prior to joining the High Line, Ganser worked for TEN Arquitectos focusing on open space projects including the architecture of Orange County Great Park, a 1400-acre park planned for the decommissioned El Toro Marine Corps Air Base.

Ganser joins NY4P in the midst of the organization’s Play Fair campaign, a multi-year advocacy effort to increase support for parks in advance of the 2021 Mayoral election. NY4P partnered with the New York League of Conservation Voters, and DC 37, the Parks workers’ union, to form the Play Fair Coalition, which now includes over 250 organizations.

The Play Fair campaign is calling on the City to invest $47 million in Parks Department funding, much of it a renewal of one-shot funding provided in last year’s budget, to protect and create jobs, and ensure open spaces receive essential maintenance and care, particularly in light of the increased use of parks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign has the support of a supermajority of the City Council and last year was successful in securing a historic $44 million increase in the expense budget of NYC Parks, the largest funding increase in nearly three decades.

Ganser succeeds Paul Gottsegen, co-chair, who has been acting as interim ED since January.