August 3, 2016
NEW YORK–– As part of Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan, NYC Parks and the Department of Education have partnered to expand access to public space by including 12 new sites in the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, effective immediately. Schoolyards to Playgrounds opens school play space during non-school hours, and 235 play spaces are already open in this capacity. This expansion, which brings that number up to 247 – plus the addition of at least ten more sites this fall – will help NYC Parks bring 85 percent of New Yorkers within a walk to a park by 2030, a goal supported by $48 million of OneNYC funding.
“Schoolyards to Playgrounds is an innovative way to create more parkland for our City’s residents and families, simply by opening up our schoolyards to more New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Creating these public spaces brings more residents within walking distance to a park, moving our city closer to a crucial OneNYC goal.”
“Parks and public spaces bring neighborhoods together through exercise, play, and relaxation. Our communities’ health depends on improving access to parks – which is exactly what this expansion of Schools to Playgrounds and targeted parkland acquisitions will accomplish for 110,000 New Yorkers,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.
“It’s critical for students to develop healthy fitness habits from a very young age and participating in vigorous exercise is hugely beneficially to children," said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. "The Playground to Parks initiative provides outdoor public space that will help build strong community partnerships, encourage families to come together and for children to play and engage in physical activity.”
The following 12 schoolyards will be open immediately, and will each be supported with $50,000 to fund DOE custodial labor and supplies:
Sites with asterisks will receive physical improvements this fall. In addition, the additional ten sites to be announced this fall will receive substantial capital upgrades.
“Our schools need to be more than brick and mortar structures with classrooms, gymnasiums, and auditoriums that come alive between the opening and closing bells; they are true assets for the entire community that must be mobilized to provide safe spaces for children and families throughout the day, every day,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Schoolyards to Playgrounds is an important step in the right direction toward this mission, dramatically increasing access to recreation space in underserved neighborhoods. I am hopeful that the City will build on this initiative and support the growing call to open schools to community-based organizations that want to activate safe spaces after school hours and on weekends to offer programs that enrich our youth and positively develop our communities.”
"Access to playgrounds and other facilities encourages kids to become more physically active, maintain healthy lifestyles, and gives New York families the opportunity to spend time together outdoors," said Congressman Joe Crowley. "I thank Mayor de Blasio and NYC Parks for expanding the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, which in turn, creates much-needed open spaces in our communities."
"In many parts of the city, including my district, park space is at a premium and it is important that we make the best use of what we do have. Since my City Council days, I have believed that the idea of opening up schoolyards to the rest of the community is a creative and cost-effective way to immediately expand the park space already available in many neighborhoods and will provide thousands of residents in these communities with a new place to spend time and have fun during non-school hours. I thank the Parks Department for their progressive dedication to creating more usable park space throughout the city and am excited to see the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program come to fruition in my district at PS 229," said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
"Expanding access at P.S. 118 and P.S. 54 for our youth when school is not in session enables them to have greater options for safe and healthy recreation in our neighborhoods," said State Senator Leroy Comrie. "I applaud the Mayor, and thank him for his hard work and partnership on this issue. Together, we can create better futures for our children and families."
“It’s common knowledge we are in need of more community spaces. With fewer and fewer options, children and families are finding it harder to get outside and play in a safe and fun environment. For many communities, school grounds have been the only, yet limited, option. They have been closed off, and many in need of repairs. Mayor de Blasio’s Schools to Playgrounds program continues to alleviate both these concerns. I know Brooklyn families will be pleased to hear that the program is coming to P.S. 345. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Mitchell and Chancellor Fariña for bringing it here,” said State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.
"Providing play space for children during non-school hours, especially in the summer, is vital. These spaces are safe havens for our students, and they feel very comfortable playing and hanging out with friends and schoolmates. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for transforming another schoolyard into a playground in the district, specifically I.S. 230, so children and families can plan and stay healthy," State Senator Jose Peralta said.
"I am extremely excited that the Schoolyards to Playground program is expanding to include a school in the 19th Senate District. This gives families the opportunity to utilize outdoor recreational space closer to their homes. Children who do not live near a park can now enjoy the amenities of the playground,” said State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud.
“I am very pleased that two schools in my district, P.S. 230 and P.S. 12, have become a part of the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program. We need to do all that we can to encourage kids to play outside and lead active, healthy lifestyles, and creating public outdoor spaces in which they can play is an important part of this. I would like to thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to creating outdoor public and community spaces for all New Yorkers, but especially for our children,” said Assembly Member Michael DenDekker.
“School Yards to Playgrounds” is truly an innovative program. I am glad to see that P.S. 239 and P.S. 75 have been selected in Ridgewood for this program and I am looking forward to these upgrades slated for the fall. On behalf of my constituents, I would like to thank the Parks Department for choosing these two locations,” said Assembly Member Michael Miller.
“Using school playgrounds during non-school hours makes schools an even greater asset to our community. Playing outside in a safe space should be encouraged, and this expansion of playground use does just that!” said Assembly Member Matthew Titone.
Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “Expanding access to greenspace helps improve our communities. Keeping our schoolyards open to families during non-school hours are an easy way to take advantage of the open spaces we already have. When kids have more opportunities to play and enjoy the outdoors, our entire neighborhood benefits. I grew up playing in the schoolyard on my block during non-school hours, and I remember the fun we had and the sense of community it brought to my friends. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Silver, and Chancellor Farina for their leadership on this important issue.”
“Access to open space and recreational activities was a priority of mine during the East New York rezoning discussions, and I made sure that in addition to including PS 345 in this program, $1.3 million was included in the FY17 budget to resurface the play yard and install new equipment. For too many years our public school playgrounds have been underutilized resources in our communities, and by making them available to children and their families during non school hours we give them an opportunity to go out, have fun, and be active in a safe and friendly environment. It is my hope that one day every public schoolyard will be a part of this great program,” said Council Member Rafael L. Espinal, Jr.
“Our schools infrastructure is one of the most important investments we can make and I am pleased the upgrades we are announcing today will give our youth the opportunity to exercise in a safe environment, so when they go to class they are ready to learn” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “I would like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chancellor Carmen Farina, and Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver for creating the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program and look forward to continuing to work with them on enhancing the quality of life for residents in Southeast Queens.”
"The 34th District is in dire need of new open spaces, and this program is a great step toward providing more space for our youth to get outside and be active,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.
"Parks and playgrounds offer young children an opportunity to not only to be more physically active and healthy, but also to have fun and use their imagination. Opening up our school playgrounds to the public during non-school hours will give many families with young children a more convenient, accessible place to play on evenings and weekends. This important initiative will make a difference in the lives of young Staten Islanders, and I welcome it to my district,” said Council Member Debi Rose.