Bronx Students Celebrate Their New Playground (NYC)

Bronx, NY, 11/30/2007: Kindergarten through fifth-grade students at P.S. 93 School in Soundview, Bronx today celebrated the opening of a new community playground that they designed.

A team of P.S. 93 students, teachers, and parents met regularly for three months to design the community playground. The final design includes a basketball court, stage, sports field, tennis/volleyball court, gazebo, painted game tables, trees, and benches.

Kindergarteners and third graders celebrated the opening with singing performances including “The Green Grass Grew All Around” and were joined by teachers, parents, members of the community, representatives from The Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the City of New York. The celebration included remarks by Andy Stone, and Mary Alice Lee from The Trust for Public Land and P.S. 93 Principal Donald Mattson. Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. was also in attendance. The celebration culminated with a special guest performance by Alexandra Taveras, a backup singer for Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony with ties to the school and community.

The playground, formerly an empty asphalt lot, was proposed for school expansion trailers, which the students and community members opposed in favor of the plans for the playground. This is one of 25 playgrounds being created citywide for underserved communities through the partnership between The Trust for Public Land and the City of New York.

“Prior to the transition, students spent their time on a barren cement lot, yearning for a place where they could play during recess or after school. Today, their dream became a reality,” said Andy Stone, Director of The Trust for Public Land’s Playgrounds Program.

Principal Donald Mattson, who gave the opening remarks at, said, “May this playground be eternally brightened by the smiles on children’s faces and the laughter in their hearts.”

The playground is a $1 million investment in the community through the Playground’s Program of The Trust for Public Land, made possible by funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and a two to one match from the City of New York. The Phipps Community Development Corporation is the community sponsor.

“We’re investing in healthy family and school environments that include good nutrition and physical activity and involve the child, parent, school, and communities to help to create life-long, healthy habits in children,” said Janet Mountain, Executive Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “We are pleased to continue our support of The Trust for Public Land and the City of New York and its children.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the students and the community to come together as a family to achieve new and exciting experiences collectively, improving the environment for the future,” said Melissa Martinez of Phipps Community Development Corporation.

The Trust for Public Land recently expanded its partnership with the City of New York and will build an additional 24 model community playground sites by 2010 as part of the Schoolyards to Playgrounds initiative of PlaNYC 2030. TPL will also facilitate design workshops with students and community members for another 161 schoolyard to playground sites.

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.