New Community Schoolyard Opening at Maspeth Elementary

Today, Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and other supporters, are proud to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated green schoolyard at 153Q, Maspeth Elementary, in Queens.

The schoolyard features green infrastructure that will manage 1.3 million gallons of storm water per year, helping to reduce both neighborhood flooding as well as pollution in nearby Newtown Creek and East River. The schoolyard will also give quality park access to nearly 15,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of the school.

“This new community space is a key part of our work to close the park equity gap and increase climate resiliency,” said Mary Alice Lee, NYC Playgrounds Program Director for Trust for Public Land. “In addition to serving the entire neighborhood with quality park space, this schoolyard will give students the opportunity to learn and play outdoors and its green infrastructure features will absorb millions of gallons of stormwater that would otherwise flood our city streets.”

Students from Maspeth helped to design the schoolyard space to include not only green infrastructure but to create a space for the entire community to benefit from. The space features a turf field, running track, play equipment, garden space, a Little Library, and an outdoor classroom.

“To better manage the extreme rainfall that climate change is bringing to New York City we are looking at every property for opportunities to let the water absorb naturally into the ground and this beautiful playground is a terrific example of what we can do,” said New York City Chief Climate Officer and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “We have now built green infrastructure to absorb stormwater at nearly 200 schools, parks, NYCHA campuses and other public spaces, all in an effort to reduce flooding and protect public safety and property.”

“I firmly believe that investing in our children and enhancing schoolyards and facilities is essential to our community’s future,” said Council Member Robert Holden. “It is great to bring back tax dollars to PS 153Q and collaborate with the Trust for Public Land to develop a stunning new playground for our students and community to enjoy.”

“This new playground is truly a state-of-the-art space where children can have fun, which is what they deserve after they underwent so much social isolation during the pandemic,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “This project also help address the need for all city residents to have access to high-quality recreational space. So I’m very proud to have contributed $300,000 in funding for this playground, because the children of Maspeth deserve to both learn and play in modern, first-class facilities that will allow them to reach their fullest potential.”

“Our elected officials, community leaders, educators and parents all worked together to ensure we provided our children with the best possible environment to live, learn and PLAY in order to give them the greatest opportunity to succeed,” SCA President and CEO, Nina Kubota said. “Building a sustainable new playground for our students and this community is not just about play space; it’s about nurturing a foundation for their future, where joy meets eco-consciousness, and gets us one step closer to a greener tomorrow. Thank you to all of the stakeholders for seeing this project to completion.”

Opening all the nation’s public schoolyards during non-school hours would put a park within a 10-minute walk of nearly 20 million people—solving the problem of outdoor access for one-fifth of the 100 million people across the country who don’t currently have a park close to home.

TPL’s goal for every schoolyard is to turn blacktop “playgrounds” into vibrant, verdant spaces that do double duty as neighborhood parks outside of school hours. These Community Schoolyards projects are improving the health, equity, and climate resilience of neighborhoods across the country and transforming the lives of students, families, teachers, and the whole community. Since 1996, TPL has helped complete 226 schoolyards across New York City, including 71 in Queens alone.

About Trust for Public Land

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit

About the SCA

The School Construction Authority’s (SCA) mission is to design and construct safe, attractive, and environmentally sound public schools for children throughout the many communities of New York City. We are dedicated to building and modernizing schools in a responsible, cost-effective manner while achieving the highest standards of excellence in safety, quality, and integrity.

Established by the New York State Legislature in December 1988, the SCA has provided over 322,600 new school seats to New York City students, and protected, repaired, and upgraded over 1,800 schools in over 1,400 school buildings with over 12,500 capital improvement projects.