New “Green” Schoolyard Unveiled at 223Q in Queens
The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and New York Road Runners (NYRR), today broke ground on a newly renovated “green” schoolyard at PS 223Q in Queens. The schoolyard was designed using The Trust for Public Land’s unique participatory design process with teachers and students and will include a turf field, a handball wall decorated by a student mural, play equipment, new plantings, and other features. Green infrastructure elements will capture 1.8 million gallons of stormwater each year, helping to improve the health of nearby Jamaica Bay. The schoolyard will be open to the community during non-school hours and will serve over 10,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of home.
Green infrastructure design elements, made possible in part through DEP’s contribution of $775,000, are a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. These features reduce stormwater runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing untreated water to end up in rivers and bays. Each playground absorbs hundreds of thousands of gallons of water annually and includes new trees that bring shade and better air quality to their neighborhoods.
“During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers have recognized that parks and playgrounds are essential for mental and physical well-being,” said Carter Strickland, New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land. “In addition to serving the entire community, this schoolyard has a new outdoor classroom so that students have the opportunity to safely study while connecting with classmates. We are grateful to DEP, NYRR, Interim Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, and Councilmember Adrienne Adams for their partnership in making this schoolyard a reality.”
“DEP is proud to partner with The Trust for Public Land and the entire PS 223 community as we break ground on their new, environmentally-friendly school playground,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “The student designers were smart to include green infrastructure in the new play space in order to absorb more than 1.8 million gallons of stormwater annually and improve the health of Jamaica Bay.”
For nearly 25 years, The Trust for Public Land has guided thousands of students and parents in school districts from coast to coast to make the most of their schoolyards. The Trust for Public Land has transformed more than 250 underused schoolyards nationwide into nature-rich parks designed to address inequities in education, health, and climate impacts. Every one of our green schoolyard transformations includes agreements between a school district and other local agencies to allow the community to use the space when school is closed. According to new research from The Trust for Public Land, open access to all public schoolyards during non-school hours would put a park within a 10-minute walk of more than 19.6 million people, including 5.2 million children, who currently lack access.
“New York Road Runners is proud to partner with The Trust for Public Land, the students and staff of PS 223, and community leaders to bring life to this school yard and create a space to play safely, build back students’ strength, and most importantly, have fun,” said Jane Benson, Vice President of Youth Programs & Marketing at NYRR. “The mantra of our youth program, Rising New York Road Runners, this fall is ‘Rising Together,’ and today’s event captures the true essence of coming together as a community to get back safely to raising the next healthy, happy, and active generation.”
PS 223Q serves a diverse population in Queens. 96% of students identify as Black, Hispanic, or Asian and 28.8% of families fall below the Federal Poverty Level. This schoolyard was funded in part through DEP’s Green Infrastructure program
This project would not have been possible without the support of local elected leaders.
“This is a great day for Southeast Queens, as a new student-designed and environmentally-friendly playground is one step closer to reality,” said Queens Borough President Sharon Lee. “Our $1 million capital funding allocation for this project represents a significant investment in the well-being of the neighborhood and its families. It was a privilege to work with Councilmember Adams, The Trust for Public Land, the New York Road Runners and the Department of Environmental Protection to make today’s groundbreaking possible.”
“Parks and playgrounds are critical to improve the well-being of the entire community,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I am thrilled that this project will incorporate green infrastructure and was designed with the local community in mind. The opening of this new playground will truly beautify the neighborhood and will be an outdoor hub that our young people deserve. The fact that the P.S. 223 Community Playground was designed by students, parents, staff and the community is a great example of collaborative partnership to be proud of.”
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.