“Green” Community Playground Opens at P.S. 164 in Brooklyn

Today The Trust for Public Land unveiled the latest—number 54—in a series of schoolyard playground parks designed “for kids by kids” at Public School 164, located in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Public School 164’s playground is the latest to emerge from a long-standing partnership between The Trust for Public Land, the City of New York, and Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 initiative designed to transform neglected spaces into vibrant playgrounds and community parks, helping ensure that every child in the city has a safe outdoor play space within a ten-minute walk.

“The Borough Park neighborhood is underserved by parks and recreation space. Through our PlaNYC partnership with the City of New York, The Trust for Public Land has provided a safe place to play for the students of P.S. 164 and their community,” said Mary Alice Lee, director of The Trust for Public Land’s New York City Playgrounds Program.“The Trust for Public Land’s new school and neighborhood playground at P.S. 164 is a dream come true. It’s a place where all members of the community can enjoy being together,” said Margaret Choy-Shan, P.S. 164’s principal.

While each Trust for Public Land NYC playground is uniquely designed to meet the vision and needs of the community where it is located, the new playground at P.S. 164-designed by The Trust for Public Land with P.S. 164 students, parents, and community members-is the first of many school sites that will be completed around the city with a “green infrastructure” focus. Green infrastructure elements featured at P.S. 164’s playground include a green roof on the storage shed, a rain garden, a rain barrel to capture rainwater from the roof of the gazebo, tree groves with silva cells and pervious pavers, and an artificial turf field with a gravel base that will detain water. As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC program, the park will be open to the public after school and on weekends until dusk, seven days a week.

“P.S. 164’s playground is a natural evolution of the work we have done on New York City schoolyards over the past fifteen years,” said Lee. In our playgrounds program, The Trust for Public Land has been steadily decreasing the amount of asphalt in city schoolyards and replacing it with trees, gardens, permeable surfaces, and turf fields. Although we have to be sensitive to the fact that schools need to use these yards on a daily basis for line up, dismissal, recess, and physical education classes, we are trying to green the yards as much as possible.”

The New York City School Construction Authority paid for P.S. 164’s construction costs as part of their role in Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC program. MetLife Foundation, a longtime supporter of The Trust for Public Land’s work in New York City, provided lead private funding to support design, construction management, and stewardship costs associate with the playground.

“Parks and playgrounds are vital elements of livable communities,” said Dennis White, president of MetLife Foundation. “We are pleased to expand our partnership with TPL and the City on the new P.S. 164 playground, which increases recreational opportunities for the community while protecting the environment.”

To date, The Trust for Public Land has led participatory design for 123 playgrounds that New York City has built through the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Prior to The Trust for Public Land’s commitment to PlaNYC, the organization had created 25 playgrounds at New York City public schools through a pilot program. With the success of the program, the School Construction Authority was able to fund the creation of the playground at P.S. 164 in Brooklyn. New York City’s public elementary schools serve 1.1 million students, but many schools have unusable schoolyards that are little more than barren asphalt lots.

“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, The Trust for Public Land’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to MetLife Foundation, 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.” 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.