MetLife Foundation Grant for NYC Playgrounds
New York, NY, March 1, 2005 – Three schools in Harlem, Queens, and Brooklyn will receive new playgrounds, the result of a $1 million leadership grant to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) from the MetLife Foundation. The grant will fund the creation of new parks and playgrounds in seven cities nationwide.
With the grant’s support, P.S. 180 (Harlem), JHS 216 (Queens), and JHS 220 (Brooklyn) will be home to new community playgrounds serving 3,200 students and three communities currently without adequate recreational facilities.
The three schools will trade barren asphalt lots for brand new parks that will include playground equipment, athletic fields, and green landscapes with natural features such as trees and gardens based on the particular needs of the community. The MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund will support TPL’s Parks for People Initiative, a program that works to ensure that everyone—in particular every child—enjoys close-to-home access to a park, playground, or natural area. MetLife Foundation’s leadership support will help TPL bring new parks to the neighborhoods that need them most. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has completed 425 park projects in American cities, adding more than 35,000 acres of new urban parkland.
Neighborhood parks and open spaces improve physical and psychological health, strengthen communities, and make cities and neighborhoods more attractive places to live and work. TPL’s Parks for People Initiative is revitalizing the city parks movement, and building partnerships among communities groups, government agencies, and residents through the creation of parks, play fields, playgrounds, and gardens, often on the site of vacant lots and abandoned buildings.
“MetLife Foundation is committed to revitalizing urban neighborhoods by creating safe places for young people to play and grow,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president, MetLife Foundation. “We are delighted to help the Trust for Public Land bring its urban open space work to scale nationally and invest in the healthy development of our young people and communities.”
“With eighty percent of Americans living in cities, and as many as three in four residents without access to a park, the need is great for support to create new parks,” said TPL president, Will Rogers. “This grant from MetLife Foundation is a welcome and exciting evolution of our long and successful partnership since 1996, again demonstrating their ongoing commitment to and passion for livable cities.”
The other cities benefiting from the Parks & Playgrounds Fund grant are:
- Atlanta – When completed, 38-acre North Avenue Park will serve nearly 4,000 people and five schools within one mile, and connect this rapidly growing neighborhood with play areas, community gardens, two lakes, and linkage to pedestrian and bike paths and the Carter Presidential Center.
- Baltimore – Fourteen-mile Gwynns Falls Trail will be completed by Fall 2005, linking thirty low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to parks, playgrounds, ballfields, and historic sites. MetLife Foundation funding will support redevelopment of nine-acre Lower Gwynns Falls Park along the trail, benefiting approximately 40,000 individuals living within walking distance.
- Chicago – One of the few existing parks in population-dense Logan Square, Haas Park will be expanded by 75 percent, and include a new field house. In the rapidly growing River North neighborhood, River North Park will connect an existing park and the community to the east bank of the Chicago River.
- Miami – For the 5,000 children in Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood, Overtown Playground will be the first playground for this community in more than a decade.
- San Francisco – Enhancements to southern San Francisco’s Potrero Hill Park Playground will increase recreational opportunities for the community, including six local schools.
- A seventh city and park will be selected soon.
MetLife Foundation has contributed $2 million to TPL for park and playground creation in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and San Francisco. This support enabled TPL to develop seven community gardens and create six new parks and playgrounds throughout New York City, restore 15-acre Leon Day Park in Baltimore, renovate Lincoln Square Park and Lockwood Elementary Schoolyard in Oakland, CA, protect Whittier Mill Park in Atlanta, and create two community playgrounds in Boston.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has conserved over two million acres of land nationwide.
MetLife Foundation, established by MetLife in 1976, supports education, health, civic and cultural programs throughout the United States. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.