Kid-Designed Playground Dedicated in Brooklyn (NYC)

Brooklyn, NY, 10/3/2006: The dreams of children became reality today at the opening of the new P.S. 274 Kosciuszko Community Playground in Bushwick, Brooklyn. At today’s opening celebration, second-, fourth-, and eighth-grade students who were part of a team that designed the one-acre community park were joined by community members and representatives from The Trust for Public Land (TPL), the New York City Department of Education (DOE), MetLife Foundation, the Charles Hayden Foundation, and Virtual Y.

The project is a $1 million investment in the community through the City Spaces program of The Trust for Public Land made possible by lead private funding from MetLife Foundation and the Charles Hayden Foundation and a two-to-one funding match by the DOE. The playground is one of 25 community parks being created citywide through a partnership of TPL, the DOE, the School Construction Authority, community sponsors, and private donors.

A team of students, teachers, and parents met last September through December to design the park. Today, they celebrate the transformation of the cracked asphalt lot into a community park that includes basketball courts, artificial turf field, running track, play equipment, game tables, trees, benches, bleachers, and a stage.

“The children have worked diligently to create a safe and inviting space that benefits the physical and psychological health of the community it serves,” said Maritza Ollivierra-Jones, principal of P.S. 274.

The new park will serve the school’s 1,000 students as well as children and families in the surrounding community. There are nearly 2,600 children under the age of 18 within a quarter-mile of the school.

“There is no greater reward than to see something for which you have worked so hard become a reality,” said Andy Stone, New York City Program director of The Trust for Public Land. “In this case, these students learned throughout their project, and will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor alongside their friends and neighbors.”

MetLife Foundation, the original supporter of TPL’s City Spaces Program in New York City, has contributed $2 million to support TPL’s open space work in nine cities nationwide.

“MetLife Foundation is committed to creating safe places for young people to play and grow and to strengthening communities,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. “We are pleased join TPL, the Department of Education and the Charles Hayden Foundation in creating this new resource for the students of P.S. 274 and the Bushwick community.”

“The Trust For Public Land-sponsored playground has provided greater opportunities for our community’s children. The design was aligned to meet the needs and desires of the students and school community,” said John Zuzeck, assistant principal, and the primary school liaison for the participatory design process. “The playground has also strengthened our relationship and partnership with community-based organizations such as the Virtual Y and The Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation.”

The Trust for Public Land has built 18 successful community parks throughout the city, including four under the recent partnership with the DOE. Construction is underway at another six schools. This fall, students are working as members of participatory design teams for another three community playgrounds.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. The City Spaces program targets New York City neighborhoods least served by the current park system. For each $1 million playground, funding is raised by TPL from private donors, foundations, and corporations, and is matched two-to one by the DOE. 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. For more information, visit

MetLife Foundation, established by MetLife in 1976, supports health, education, civic, and cultural programs throughout the United States. For more information about the Foundation, visit