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PR- 186-08
May 18, 2008


The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Good Morning.  This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

"New Yorkers may thrive on the hustle and bustle of city life, but we value our parks and playgrounds as well.   The time we spend outdoors in the fresh air is important to our health and our quality of life.  That's why our Administration is investing billions of dollars to improve the nation's biggest and best municipal park system.  And it's why our PlaNYC environmental agenda envisions that every New Yorker live within a ten-minute walk of a park. 

"To help make that vision a reality, we're now turning our attention to public schoolyards.  These spaces - which exist in every community - represent the greatest opportunity we have for transforming an existing, underused resource into something we can all enjoy. 

"Last summer, we kicked off a program to open up 290 schoolyards across the city, so that they could be used by the entire community after school, on weekends, and during the months when schools are not in session.   The first round of openings, which included nearly 70 schoolyards, was relatively easy.  All we needed to do was keep the playground gates open from 8:00 a.m. until dusk, and ensure that the spaces were well maintained.

"The second round of playgrounds requires a little more effort because these sites need renovations.  Last week, we cut the ribbon on our first newly-renovated schoolyard at P.S. 138 in the Bronx.  This project was a particular success because the playground was designed in consultation with some real experts: The students who use it. 

"They were able to tell us exactly what they didn't like about the old playground, and exactly what they'd like to see in the new one.  Companies use focus groups all the time to perfect their products, so why not government?  Thanks to the feedback we received from these students, P.S.138 and the entire Castle Hill community now have a new recreational space that can be enjoyed for years to come.

"Greening our neighborhoods goes hand in hand with another PlaNYC goal: cleaning our air.  Last week we made progress there as well, with the opening of a new, energy-efficient power plant for Co-Op City in the Bronx.  The first of its kind in the entire city, this plant converts the steam that is normally wasted in the fuel-burning process into energy that can be used to generate electricity and heat and cool buildings.  And while the old power plant was one of the most heavily-polluting around, the new plant is configured to use cleaner-burning fuel- and less of it.  That will save Co-Op City residents millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and it will reduce air pollution from the plant by some 40 percent.

"That's an important achievement, particularly in the Bronx, where in some areas children are hospitalized for asthma at four times the national rate.  If we want to be able to enjoy long summer days spent outdoors, we also have to ensure the quality of our air.   Thanks to efforts like these, we are on our way to doing that, and to creating a greener, greater New York.

"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.  Thanks for listening."


Stu Loeser   (212) 788-2958

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