New Bronx Playground Dedicated

Bronx, New York, 12/8/2005: Students from P.S. 396/M.S. 390 and local residents celebrated the opening of a new playground and park today in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. The park was created through the City Spaces program of the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL). School students and staff who participated in the park design process were on hand for the celebration. The new park is a $300,000 investment paid for by TPL with lead funding donated by the Charles Hayden Foundation. It is the twelfth New York City playground created by TPL.

A cracked asphalt lot was transformed into an inviting community play space with the inclusion of a basketball court, stage, play equipment, water fountain, game table, benches, and a greenhouse. The new park will serve more than 1,000 kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students at the schools, as well as children and families in the surrounding community.

Students from P.S. 396/M.S. 390 met regularly with professional designers and architects to design the playground. They surveyed community members and visited other sites to develop a plan. The playground will be used by students during school hours and open to the neighborhood when school is closed.

“Children at these schools now have a wonderful place for gym and recess, and the community benefits from a safe, accessible play space,” said Mary Alice Lee, director of TPL’s City Spaces program.

Through their City Spaces program, the Trust for Public Land develops new community playgrounds in city neighborhoods underserved by the traditional parks system. City Spaces is a public-private partnership, involving TPL, public agencies, and local organizations. Through City Spaces, 12 new community parks have been created in New York City. Last fall, TPL and the City of New York Department of Education announced a partnership to build an additional 25 playgrounds on school properties by 2010. The $25 million initiative will focus on high-density, low-income neighborhoods.

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. For more information, visit

The Charles Hayden Foundation seeks to promote the mental, moral, and physical development of children and youth ages three to 18 in the New York and Boston metropolitan areas. The foundation focus is on those institutions and programs serving youth most at risk of not reaching their full potential, especially youth in low-income communities. The foundation has funded the Trust for Public Land’s playground work since 1997, giving gifts to the City Spaces Program totaling $3.8 million.