FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG CUTS RIBBON ON NEW "SCHOOLYARDS TO PLAYGROUNDS" PROJECT AS PART OF PLANYC INITIATIVE TO ENSURE ALL NEW YORKERS LIVE WITHIN A TEN MINUTE WALK OF A PARK OR PLAYGROUND
New Playgrounds at P.S. 205, P.S. 226 and I.S. 227 in Brooklyn are among the 197 PlaNYC Schoolyards Citywide to Open as Playgrounds
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe today cut the ribbon on the new playground at P.S. 205, as part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC initiative to ensure that all New Yorkers live within a ten minute walk of a park or playground. Playgrounds at I.S. 227 in Brooklyn and P.S. 226 in Brooklyn also opened today. They are the most recent to be renovated through the PlaNYC Schoolyards to Playgrounds program. Through Schoolyards to Playgrounds, the City is investing $95 million in funding for playground improvements to open 266 schoolyards as playgrounds in underserved neighborhoods. Sixty-nine playgrounds, which did not require improvements, were opened in the summer of 2007. Twelve playgrounds, which have been fully renovated, have opened in the last year.
“Making sure that all city residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground is an important goal of PlaNYC,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “To help us achieve that goal, we’ve identified public schoolyards in neighborhoods in all five boroughs that are most in need of open space. In total, these 266 schoolyards will provide nearly 200 acres of new recreation space within walking distance of nearly 400,000 children and their families.”
“It’s an historic moment to cut the ribbon on exciting new recreational spaces as part of a PlaNYC initiative to create a healthier, more sustainable New York City,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Schoolyards to Playgrounds is one way we are creating more and better 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 schoolyards as playgrounds and encouraging active recreation throughout the City.”
The playgrounds opened today convert schoolyards into playgrounds and community parks complete with fields, basketball courts, play equipment, gardens, and trees. To date, the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, working with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), have designed, developed, and opened twelve sites. These playground sites will be open and accessible to the community after school hours, on weekends, and during school breaks when school is not in session. Additional playgrounds opening this month under the program include P.S. 41 and P.S. 21 in Staten Island, P.S. 221 in Brooklyn, P.S. 98 and P.S. 79 in Queens, and M.S. 424 in the Bronx. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by Senior Vice President of The Trust for Public Land Rose Harvey, P.S. 205 Principal Beth Grater, and students who provided input on the design of the playground.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL), which works across America to conserve land for people to enjoy local parks, playgrounds, and natural areas, has created 35 community playgrounds throughout New York City. In partnership with PlaNYC, TPL is working to transform 165 schoolyards into playgrounds by 2010. TPL has created or enhanced more than 250 neighborhood parks in New York City, investing roughly $200 million in land purchases and in the design, construction and stewardship of parks.
“In 2010 this unique and ambitious partnership will have created 266 community parks and playgrounds where there were none,” said Rose Harvey, TPL Senior Vice President. “400,000 children and their families will enjoy green oases with gardens, fields, play equipment, outdoor amphitheaters to build not just their minds and muscles but also friends, family and community.”
The Parks Department is working with the Department of Education and The Trust for Public Land to turn schoolyards into community parks through a participatory design process—designing with ideas generated by the school community, including children and their teachers. This design process facilitates in-depth interagency and community coordination and opens up dialogue to ensure continued success of the parks after they are open to the public.
The new playground at P.S. 205 includes fully accessible play equipment, raised planting beds, a water fountain, basketball hoops, painted games, and painted recreational surfaces including a running track, a multi-purpose recreational field, and a baseball diamond. Many of the students with limited mobility will get to play with the rest of their class for the first time on the accessible play equipment. The cost of the new playground was $820,000.
The new playground at I.S. 227 was designed to replace the school’s old playground, which was an asphalt schoolyard that lacked adequate equipment and resources. Included in the new playground are a full basketball court, play equipment, handball courts, a chess board with lifesize chess pieces, an outdoor classroom, a gazebo, a synthetic turf field and running track, benches, and trees. TPL oversaw the design and development of this site with the input of the students and Neighborhood Improvement Association and completed by The Trust for Public Land. It was funded in the amount of $1.28 million with the City funding the construction budget of $942,151 and Credit Suisse funding $333,000 for design, engineering, construction oversight and stewardship costs. The playground at I.S. 227 is one of five that have been sponsored by Credit Suisse, which contributed funds from the Credit Suisse Americas Foundation, and also rallied staff in support of the effort, ultimately resulting in nearly 4,000 employees contributing. The end result was a gift from Credit Suisse of $1.66 million to The Trust for Public Land to fund the five playgrounds, located in Harlem, Washington Heights, Hunt's Point, Crown Heights, and Bensonhurst.
The new playground at P.S. 226 includes a full basketball court, an outdoor stage and seating area, play equipment, painted recreational surfaces including a running track and multi-purpose field, benches, trees, and painted games. The school plans to use the stage for monthly performances and as an outdoor classroom. It was funded in the amount of $650,000.
Since the launch of the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, eight other schoolyard sites have also been renovated and are open to the public. They include P.S. 64 and P.S. 138 in the Bronx, P.S. 76 and P.S. 173 in Manhattan, P.S. 19 and P.S. 73 in Queens, and P.S. 4 and P.S 41 in Staten Island. In addition, Parks has 20 sites actively in construction which will be open to the community this summer.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Jama Adams (Parks & Recreation)
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