FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG LAUNCHES SECOND PHASE OF "SCHOOLYARDS TO PLAYGROUNDS" PROJECT FOR PLANYC GOAL OF ALL NEW YORKERS LIVING WITHIN A TEN MINUTE WALK OF A PARK OR PLAYGROUND
New Playground at P.S. 138 in South Bronx is First of 221 PlaNYC Schoolyards Citywide to Be Renovated and Reopened as Playgrounds by 2010
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today cut the ribbon on P.S. 138's new $400,000 playground, part of the Mayor's PlaNYC goal of ensuring that all New Yorkers live within a ten minute walk of a park or playground. The playground is the first to be renovated through the PlaNYC Schoolyards to Playgrounds program in which the City will invest $111 million in funding for playground improvements and open 290 schoolyards as playgrounds in underserved neighborhoods. Sixty-nine playgrounds which did not require improvements were opened in the summer of 2007. The playground opened today is the first of the 221 remaining sites requiring new investments such as play equipment, paving, or greenery. The next two schoolyards to open as playgrounds will be at P.S. 76 in Harlem, and P.S. 4 in Staten Island, and the design on 32 others sites has already been competed. These playground sites will be open and accessible to the community during after school hours, on weekends, and during school breaks when school is not in session. At the announcement the Mayor was joined by the principal of P.S. 138 and members of the school's student council, who provided input on the design of the playground.
"One of the central goals behind our PlaNYC initiatives is making sure that all city residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground," said Mayor Bloomberg. "To help us achieve that goal, we've identified 290 public schoolyards in neighborhoods in all five boroughs that are most in need of open space. In total, these 290 schoolyards will provide more than 200 acres of new parkland within walking distance of more than 400,000 children and their families."
"We are pleased to cut the ribbon on this exciting new recreational space complete with new slides, a rock climbing wall, and a butterfly garden in the South Bronx as part of the historic PlaNYC initiative to create a healthier, more sustainable New York City," said Commissioner Benepe. "Schoolyards to Playgrounds is an important element of PlaNYC and is one way we are creating more open space for New York children. Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and to our partners, the Trust for Public Land, the Department of Education, and School Construction Authority for working together to successfully open up 290 schoolyards as playgrounds and encouraging active recreation throughout the City."
"Thanks to PlaNYC, P.S. 138 and the school community have a new playground with a jungle gym, swings, and climbing wall that the students helped to design with the Parks Department," Chancellor Joel I. Klein said. "Children from the neighborhood will spend many happy hours here."
The playground at P.S. 138 is made up of two distinct play areas. The larger play area, designed for older children, features a colorful play equipment unit with slides, stairs, and hanging rings. The smaller play area, designed for younger children, has a Cosmic Warp Climber structure and a rock climbing wall. In addition, a small grassy area was transformed into a Butterfly Garden - featuring native flowers which attract butterflies, a pathway, an outdoor classroom area, landscaping and new trees - which complements the school's science program through which students grow caterpillars and release butterflies. The playground is ADA-accessible and is covered with red safety surfacing designed to minimize surface heat.
With a $96 million allocation from the Bloomberg Administration, and $9.5 million raised by the Trust for Public Land, schoolyards citywide are being designed through a participatory design process with ideas generated by the school community, including students, parents, and teachers. To design the playground at P.S. 138, the Parks' Landscape Designer Nette Compton worked with the Student Council at P.S. 138, a delegation of approximately 20 students representing K-6th grades. Students learned how to select play equipment and plant species for the site, designed the layout, and created drawing and designs of their desired play space.
Stu Loeser /Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Jama Adams (Parks & Recreation)
David Cantor (Education)
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