The Central Park Conservancy is the official management organization in charge of Central Park. It was formed by a group of concerned New Yorkers in the 1970s in response to a decline in the quality of maintenance and services for the park.
The Central Park Conservancy represents a joint public and private partnership, unifying various groups and service providers under one umbrella organization.
The Conservancy’s mission is two-fold. Primarily, it focuses on maintaining Central Park as a landmark in urban recreational life, as it was originally intended to be. Additionally, the Conservancy provides advice and training to park conservancies around the world.
Though the Conservancy employs the bulk of park staff, up to about 90 percent, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation retains control over park policy, operations, events, permits, and other matters of its day-to-day operation. The Conservancy receives an annual fee from the city for its maintenance of the park. Additionally, the city exclusively funds some aspects of park maintenance, such as walkway lighting.
The Conservancy has spearheaded several projects that enhanced the beauty and appeal of Central Park. In 1986, its fundraising efforts enabled the restoration of the Grand Army Plaza and the Shakespeare Garden. It also provides visitor services at locations throughout Central Park.