There are a number of historical sites in New York City associated with the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad. Some of these important sites are marked, while others remain unmarked and unacknowledged. Collectively, these sites have not been linked through unifying signage, programs or maps by the City into a cohesive walkable tour, akin to Boston’s Freedom Trail. This bill would establish a task force to consider the creation of a Freedom Trail in the City. The task force would consist of public officials, academic and historical scholars, and representatives from relevant organizations. The task force would be required to meet at least quarterly and hold at least two public meetings. The task force would be required to submit a report of its recommendations to the Mayor and the Speaker of the Council no later than 12 months after the final member is appointed.
Int. No. 293
By Council Members Rodriguez, Van Bramer, Levin, Levine, Rose, Ampry-Samuel, the Public Advocate (Mr. Williams), Perkins and Chin
A Local Law in relation to establishing a freedom trail task force
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. Freedom trail task force. a. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the term “freedom trail” means a walkable tour of historical sites in the city associated with the abolitionist movement and Underground Railroad, including sites that have been marked and sites that remain unmarked, that are linked through unifying signage, programs or maps.
b. There shall be a freedom trail task force consisting of the commissioners of cultural affairs, transportation, parks and recreation, and small business services; the chair of the landmarks preservation commission; five members to be appointed by the mayor; and three members to be appointed by the speaker of the council. Appointed members shall include academic or historical scholars and representatives of institutions, organizations, corporations or associations that are organized or operated primarily for historical, cultural, educational, religious or charitable purposes. The mayor, after consultation with the speaker of the council, shall designate from among the ex officio members a chairperson of the task force. The ex officio members are the commissioners of cultural affairs, transportation, parks and recreation, and small business services, and the chair of the landmarks preservation commission.
c. Each member of the task force shall serve without compensation for a term of 12 months, to commence after the final member of the task force is appointed. All members shall be appointed within 60 days after the effective date of this local law.
d. No appointed member of the task force shall be removed except for cause by the appointing authority. In the event of a vacancy on the task force during the term of an appointed member, a successor shall be selected in the same manner as the original appointment to serve the balance of the unexpired term.
e. The ex officio members of the task force may designate a representative who shall be counted as a member for the purpose of determining the existence of a quorum and who may vote on behalf of such member, provided that such representative is an officer or employee from the same agency as the delegating member. The designation of a representative shall be made by a written notice of the ex officio member served upon the chairperson of the task force prior to the designee participating in any meeting of the task force, but such designation may be rescinded or revised by the member at any time.
f. The task force shall meet at least quarterly and shall hold at least two public meetings prior to submission of the report required pursuant to subdivision h of this section to solicit public comment on the establishment of a freedom trail.
g. The mayor may designate one or more agencies to provide staffing and other administrative support to the task force.
h. The task force shall submit a report of its recommendations to the mayor and the speaker of the council no later than 12 months after the final member of the task force is appointed. In formulating its recommendations, the task force shall consider the following:
1. The feasibility of establishing a freedom trail;
2. Potential sites along a freedom trail;
3. Methods or systems that would be necessary to link sites along a freedom trail;
4. The level of coordination among appropriate city agencies and other relevant organizations that would be necessary to the implementation and operation of a freedom trail;
5. Outreach and educational materials and efforts, including technological tools, that would be necessary to support the operation of a freedom trail.
i. The freedom trail task force shall dissolve upon submission of the report required pursuant to subdivision h of this section.
§ 2. This local law takes effect immediately.
LS #8190/Int. 1704-2017