New Community Schoolyard Opens at the Cynthia Jenkins School in Queens
Today, Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, New York City School Construction Authority, and funders, are proud to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated schoolyard at the Cynthia Jenkins School (P.S. 37Q) in Queens. This new parkland serves a diverse population where over 90% of students identify as Black, Hispanic, or Asian and nearly 70% of students quality for reduced lunch.
The schoolyard features green infrastructure that will manage approximately 330,000 gallons of stormwater per year, keeping pollution out of nearby Jamaica Bay, and will give quality park access to nearly 10,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of the school.
“Parks are essential for the mental and physical well-being of New Yorkers, and this new community space is a key part of our work to close the park equity gap and increase climate resiliency,” said Carter Strickland, VP of the Mid-Atlantic and New York State Director for Trust for Public Land. “In addition to serving the entire neighborhood with quality park space, this schoolyard has a new outdoor classroom so that students have the opportunity to learn and its green infrastructure features will absorb millions of gallons of stormwater that would otherwise flood our city streets.”
“This modern, environmentally friendly community schoolyard is first-class, state-of-the-art recreational space that will enhance the mental and physical well-being of all who use it,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Its construction is part of an important effort to provide our youth with more opportunities for outdoor recreation, especially in places like Southeast Queens that have been overlooked and underinvested in. It was a privilege for the Queens Borough President’s Office to allocate $600,000 in capital funding to this project and to work with the City Council and The Trust for Public Land to make it a reality.”
P.S. 37Q The Cynthia Jenkins School Community Schoolyard was designed by students, staff, parents, and community members through Trust for Public Land’s NYC Playgrounds Program. This playground is made possible through a partnership with the DOE and SCA, and includes trees, pervious pavers, and other green infrastructure elements that will capture more than an inch of rainwater in storm events.
Funding to help make this schoolyard renovation possible came through the office of BP Donovan Richards and the New York City Council.
“I am thrilled that the new schoolyard will provide students with not only a space to play and learn but also one that is environmentally friendly,” said New York City Council Member Nantasha Williams, representative for Council District 27. “This will be a space that helps keep Jamaica Bay clean and accessible to the community. The new facility is part of a larger effort to create a more sustainable future for the school and its students. Exposure to nature can have positive physical and mental effects on children, and we want to ensure that we were maximizing those benefits. The end result is an incredible playground that combines learning and play with environmental awareness and an all-around positive impact on our community.”
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 224 schoolyards across New York City, including 70 in Queens.
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 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.