New Playground for Queens Public School, Jamaica Community

June 7, 2011

Today P.S. 116 students celebrated the new community playground they helped design in Jamaica. The new playground, created in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative, will be available to the school's 837 students and to families from the surrounding community.

Previously a mostly vacant lot, the schoolyard at P.S. 116 has now been transformed into a new $1 million community playground, led by The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and a design team of students, teachers, parents, and members of the community.

"The Jamaica neighborhood is underserved by parks and recreation space. Through our PlaNYC partnership with the City of New York, TPL provided a safe place to play for the students of P.S. 116 and their community," said Mary Alice Lee, director of TPL's New York City Playgrounds Program.

P.S 116, located at 107-25 Wren Place, has more than 800 pre-kindergarten-through-eighth grade students. TPL led a three-month participatory design process with students, community members, and staff from the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, to design the new playground to better serve the needs of the children and the community. At 1.3 acres, the P.S. 116 playground space is unusually large for a public school.

The playground features an artificial turf field, running track, bleachers, trees, benches, gazebo, play equipment, planting beds, gametables, and a multi-purpose court.

The playground at P.S. 116 was created in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC Schoolyards to Playgrounds initiative and is the 27th of 28 community parks that TPL is designing and building as part of this program. In addition, TPL has led participatory design for another 123 playgrounds that the city is building. When completed the playgrounds will serve 380,000 New York City students and residents. Prior to TPL's commitment to PlaNYC, the organization has created 25 playgrounds at New York City public schools through a pilot program.

"We are proud to have vastly increased the play spaces in New York City and thrilled for the 380,000 children who are immediately benefiting from these great new playgrounds," said Will Rogers, TPL president. "We are grateful to New York City and Mayor Bloomberg for their visionary commitment to community playgrounds and we are delighted by the significant funding support we've secured over the past four years."

"Through the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, which has to date converted 165 underutilized sites into vibrant, community playgrounds, we are working to achieve the PlaNYC goal of ensuring all New Yorkers live within a ten minute walk of a park," said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. "These investments are not only helping to redefine accessible public space in the city, but The Trust for Public Land's innovative approach to participatory design is reshaping how our children engage with their neighborhoods and schools."

The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. 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.