Ground Broken for New S. Bronx Playground (NYC)

Bronx, NY, 9/15/2005: Students from C.S. 66 in the South Bronx gathered today to break ground for a new playground that they designed for their community. The playground, which will be complete by next spring, is one of 25 being built throughout the city by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) in partnership with the city Department of Education.

The soon-to-be playground is part of a total makeover of the school’s exterior. Thanks to the work of the Trust for Public Land, there is a new mural covering the length of the school and a garden at the school’s front entrance.

“The positive changes on the outside are mirrored by what is going on in the classrooms,” said Marilyn Smith, C.S. 66 principal. “Our students are now planting, weeding and growing vegetables and the playground will also feature an outdoor classroom. Our entire community is looking forward to utilizing the playground and working in the garden.”

When completed, the play area will include an artificial turf field, running track, picnic tables, trees, water fountain, play spray, benches, sound sculptures, and a double dutch jump rope area.

The celebration at C.S. 66, located at 1001 Jennings Street included groundbreaking for the new playground, a presentation by students of the plans for their new play space, and a ribbon cutting at the garden planted by students this summer.

“Children in the South Bronx suffer from some of the highest rates of asthma in the city and possibly the nation,” said Rose Harvey, senior vice president and mid-Atlantic regional director for the Trust for Public Land. “These kids need a safe place where they can sit under a tree, play, and learn.”

Through the City Spaces program of the Trust for Public Land, the playground plans were developed through a participatory design process whereby students took on tasks ranging from surveying the site and interviewing community stakeholders, to working with professional landscape architects. Upon completion, the area will be available to students during school hours and open to the public at other times.

The City Spaces program is a public-private partnership dedicated to providing permanent, community-managed recreation spaces. The cost for each playground (approximately $1 million each) is raised by the Trust for Public Land. The New York City Department of Education has agreed to contribute $2 for every $1 raised by TPL toward the $25 million goal to build 25 playgrounds by 2009.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. City Spaces is part of TPL’s Parks for People Initiative, a program in cities and suburbs across America to ensure that everyone—in particular, every child—enjoys access to a park, playground, or open space. City Spaces targets New York City neighborhoods least served by the current park system. 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.