200th “Schoolyard To Playground” Opens
Last Wednesday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability David Bragdon, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott opened the 200th “Schoolyard to Playground” at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights as a part of the PlaNYC initiative to ensure all New Yorkers live within a 10 minute walk of a park or playground.
The newly opened playground at P.S. 69 is the latest schoolyard to be renovated and opened to the public during non-school hours through the program, which is turning schoolyards into playgrounds in neighborhoods across the city. The Mayor also was joined at the announcement at P.S. 69 by Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, State Senator Jose R. Peralta, Assembly Member Francisco P. Moya, City Council Member Daniel Dromm, P.S. 69 Principal Martha Vazquez and Mary Alice Lee of the Trust for Public Land, the City’s primary partner for the program.
PlaNYC’s Schoolyards to Playgrounds initiative is investing $87.6 million to convert schoolyards into playgrounds and community parks complete with fields, basketball courts, play equipment, gardens, and trees. The City works with the Trust for Public Land to design, develop, and open the sites, which are open and accessible to the community on weekdays from after school till dusk and on weekends or days when school is not in session from 8:00 a.m. until dusk.
PlaNYC calls for a total of 230 schoolyards to be converted into playgrounds by 2013. A schedule for an additional 28 locations is currently being determined.
The Trust for Public Land, which works across the country to conserve land for people to enjoy local parks, playgrounds, and natural areas, has helped design and build 30 of the Schoolyards to Playgrounds in PlaNYC and the Trust is working to help design another 125 of the locations in the program. The Trust also has built an additional 24 playgrounds in New York City.
The Schoolyards to Playgrounds initiative uses a participatory design process – designing the playgrounds with ideas generated by the local school community, including children and 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.
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Most people have seen worse things in private
than they pretend to be shocked at in public.”
Edgar Watson Howe
(1853 - 1937)