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May 23, 2017
The Trust for Public Land:

Flushing Asphalt Lot to Be Transformed into Green Playground

Douglas Auer - IMG_1774

Playground Includes Green Infrastructure to Absorb Precipitation and Help Improve Health of Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay

Groundbreaking Photos Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

FLUSHING, NY—The Queens Borough President, The Trust for Public Land, New York Road Runners and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection today broke ground to turn PS 120Q’s asphalt playground into a state-of-the-art green playground the whole community can use.

“Today is the start of the transformation of an asphalt schoolyard into a green oasis, a playground where children can run, play, and be active in a space with trees, a turf field and running track,” stated Mary Alice Lee, Director, NYC Playgrounds Program, The Trust for Public Land.

“We are pleased to help break ground on much-needed upgrades to PS 120Q’s new, state-of-the-art playground. Mayor de Blasio, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Councilmember Peter Koo, the New York Road Runners and the Trust for Public Land deserve to be commended for joining me in spearheading the effort to improve this vital playground,” stated Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“A shared commitment to encouraging the youth of New York City’s five boroughs to get outside and active is what makes New York Road Runners’ partnership with the Trust for Public Land so impactful,” said Michael Capiraso, President and CEO at NYRR. “The groundbreaking at PS 120Q is our second since partnering with the Trust for Public Land. We are proud to work together to transform public school playgrounds into state-of-the-art community playgrounds, and look forward to providing an enhanced facility for running and many other outdoor activities to the students of PS 120Q, where more than 700 of the 215,000 kids who take part in NYRR free youth running programs attend school.”

“The groundbreaking at PS 120Q is the first step into transforming this school’s asphalt schoolyard into an environmentally-friendly playground that will give schoolchildren and residents a fun and safe place to play,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “An added benefit is that the engineered green infrastructure elements that have been incorporated into this state-of-the-art playground design will reduce stormwater runoff, improve the water quality of nearby Flushing Bay, and clean the air.”

“As a Council Member, I take particular pride in funding playgrounds as they are essential pieces of a well-rounded education. This upgraded playground at PS 120Q will give our kids a new and exciting reason to enjoy their time at school, and I’m happy to have provided $300,000 in funding for this outstanding project,” said New York City Council Member Peter Koo.

“I am thankful to Queens Borough President Katz, Councilman Koo, and The Trust for Public Land for making this dream a reality. The students of PS 120Q will soon have a beautiful yard for recess and endless physical education activities,” stated PS 120Q Principal Robert Marino.

The new playgrounds were designed through a participatory design process led by the students. At each school, students survey their peers as part of a class project to learn the most popular playground features. Students then work with landscape architects to include the student wish list into the final design. The participatory design process teaches many valuable skills, including environmental science, budgeting, and negotiation.

The playground includes green infrastructure elements, such as specialized plantings and shade trees, porous pavement and permeable pavers. Also included is a new synthetic turf field of woven polyester filaments and a broken stone storage layer and perforated distribution pipes to promote infiltration. Such green infrastructure design elements are a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. These features reduce storm runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing untreated water to end up in rivers and bays. Each playground absorbs hundreds of thousands of gallons of water annually and includes 20-30 new trees that bring shade and better air quality to their neighborhoods. The Trust for Public Land receives public funding from the Departments of Education and Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority, the City Council and the Queens Borough President, the Manhattan Borough President, and the Bronx Borough President.

The Trust for Public Land has helped develop 189 playgrounds in New York City. In addition to serving students, all playgrounds in New York City are open to the public on weekends and after school hours, providing opportunities for both children and adults to be physically active. Nearly 3.3 million New Yorkers live within a ten minute walk of one of TPL’s playgrounds.

PS 120Q is one of three schools in a new partnership between The Trust for Public Land and New York Road Runners, who contributed an initial $1 million to help pay for designing and building playgrounds at CS 154 (Harlem), PS 120 (Flushing, Queens), and the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex, which houses three schools on a shared campus in the Throgs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx (PS 392, IS 467, and IS 371).

These three projects will be completed by the end of 2017, and will replace dilapidated, arid blacktop that currently provides students’ only opportunity to play outdoors on school grounds. Ultimately, NYRR is planning on funding playground development in all five boroughs over the next few years.

More than 215,000 students are served nationally through NYRR’s free youth running programs and events, including 115,000 in New York City’s five boroughs. NYRR supports free community programming for people of all ages—from kids to seniors—designed to get them moving toward a healthier lifestyle, including NYRR Open Runs, a community-based initiative that brings free weekly runs and walks to local neighborhood parks in New York City, NYRR Striders, a free, weekly walking program for older runners, high school training programs, group training sessions, and more.

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit

About NYRR

Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, youth running initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit

About New York City DEP

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.7 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600