New "Green" Playground in Tremont Will Absorb Stormwater to Help Reduce Flooding and Improve the Health of the Harlem River

October 5, 2021

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), The Trust for Public Land, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, and Fordham University President Joseph M. McShane, S.J., joined today with a highly diverse student body, teachers, and families to break ground on a new, green playground at P.S. 306/M.S. 331 in Tremont, Bronx. The state-of-the-art schoolyard, which will be open to the community during non-school hours, will serve more than 42,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of home. Newly designed green infrastructure will capture 2 million gallons of stormwater each year—reducing flooding and helping to improve the health of the nearby Harlem River.

“Parks improve the general health and well-being of the communities they serve, which is why The Trust for Public Land is committed to ensuring that everyone, no matter where they live in New York, has access to a public park within a 10-minute walk of home,” said Carter Strickland, VP of the Mid-Atlantic Region and New York State Director for the Trust for Public Land. “Once complete, this playground will bring more than 42,000 Tremont residents of all ages within a ten minute walk of the park, giving them a chance to connect, exercise, and have fun together.”

“DEP is proud to join with The Trust for Public Land, elected officials and the school communities of P.S. 306/M.S. 331 to celebrate the groundbreaking of this environmentally-friendly playground. The green infrastructure elements will be designed to absorb an estimated 2 million gallons of stormwater annually, which will ease pressure on the neighborhood’s sewers and help to reduce any untreated water from entering the Harlem River,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “To date, DEP has constructed 23 green playgrounds with The Trust for Public Land and we are excited to have another 40 in development. We look forward to many more groundbreakings to come.”

“Fordham’s Community School staff is dedicated to providing services and support to all members of the Bronx School of Young Leaders community: thereby enabling all students to learn and achieve at higher levels. Jesuit education is steeped in the notion of 'cura personalis,' or care for the entire person as an individual endowed with particular gifts and insights. So too is our work. The new student-designed schoolyard, where students will exercise their bodies, stimulate their minds, and rejuvenate their spirits, is a perfect embodiment of that ethos,” said Associate Dean Anita Vazquez Batisti, Ph.D., Fordham University Graduate School of Education.

Scheduled to open in Fall 2024, the $2.2 million playground was designed by students from elementary school P.S. 306 and middle school M.S. 331, to reflect their neighborhood’s unique identity, culture, and character. Playground features will include a full basketball court, a volleyball court, an outdoor classroom, game tables, a gazebo, play equipment for younger children, fitness equipment for older students and community members, benches, a running track, and a turf field for soccer and football.

The new P.S. 306/M.S. 331 playground, formerly plagued with sinkholes that periodically flooded during rainstorms, will also feature green infrastructure elements such as shade trees, plantings, permeable pavers, and a synthetic turf field that will capture 2 million gallons of rainwater a year. These features will better manage stormwater runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, as well as reduce sewer overflows and protect the Harlem River watershed.

The P.S. 306/M.S. 331 playground will be built by The Trust for Public, in partnership with the DEP, The School Construction Authority and the Department of Education. In addition to serving students, once completed, the new schoolyard will reopen to the public during after school hours between 8am and dusk when school programs are not in session, providing opportunities for both children and adults to enjoy a place for exercise, relaxation, and socializing with neighbors.

Since 1996, working with the City, The Trust for Public Land’s work on New York City playgrounds has designed and/or built more than 200 school and community playgrounds across the five boroughs. Overall, The Trust for Public Land in New York City has added more than 160 acres of additional playground space across the five boroughs, serving more than 4.5 million people who live within a 10-minute walk of one of the sites.

The Trust for Public Land New York City Playground Program employs participatory design principles, involving students to help them gain valuable knowledge and life skills like budgeting, negotiation, and planning. In addition to being a fun, recreational space, the playground will function as an outdoor classroom for students to explore nature, learn about environmental science, and take part in physical education and after-school activities.

Green infrastructure design elements are a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. These features help to improve New York City’s resistance to major storms by reducing storm water 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 similar playgrounds are being designed in the Flushing and Jamaica Bay watersheds.

The P.S. 306/M.S. 331 playground is made possible through a partnership with the DEP, the New York City Department of Education, and the New York City School Construction Authority, as well as through funding from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and Council Member Fernando Cabrera.

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 within a 10-minute walk of 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 New York City DEP

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 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 a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 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.

About the Center for Educational Partnerships at Fordham University

The Center for Educational Partnerships is the “outreach arm” of Fordham University's Graduate School of Education, providing programs and services that touch the lives of over 500,000 public and nonpublic school students grades (pre-k to 12), thousands of teachers and hundreds of administrators and parents throughout New York City and the greater metropolitan area. The Center is dedicated to applying “cutting edge” research based practices that enable all children to achieve and succeed academically. For more information visit the Center for Educational Partnerships, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.