New Playground for Bronx Public School, Wakefield Community

Today P.S. 87 students celebrated a new community playground they helped design in Wakefield, Bronx. The new playground, created in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative, will be available to the school’s 530 students and families from the surrounding community. The closest park, Seton Falls Park, is more than a half-mile away.

Previously a mostly vacant schoolyard, the lot at P.S. 87 has been transformed into a new $1 million community playground, led by The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and a design team of students, teachers, parents, and members of the community.

“The students were yearning for a place to play during recess and the community wanted a park. Today, those dreams are a reality,” said Mary Alice Lee, director of TPL’s New York City Playgrounds program.

P.S. 87 is located at 1935 Bussing Avenue in the Bronx. P.S. 87 has a diverse student body of more than 500 kindergarten-through-fifth grade students. TPL led a three-month participatory design process with students, community members, and staff from the Bronx Flash Club and the Unity Temple of Peace to design the new playground to better serve the needs of the children and the community.

The playground, constructed by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, features a turf field, track, garden, outdoor classroom, play equipment, water fountain, and basketball courts.

“Our playground and community park is a symbol of what can be achieved when our vision is truly ‘Children First,’ said P.S. 87 Principal Donna Anaman. “Supported by the adults in their lives, our students designed a park that reflects the beauty that is within them. Who would think that an area that was once drab, lifeless and uninviting could be transformed into an oasis to be enjoyed by the community?”

The playground at P.S. 87 was created in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative and is the twentieth of 28 community parks that TPL is designing and building as part of this program. When complete the parks will serve 380,000 New York City students and residents.

“Our playground and community park will be a constant reminder to us to look beyond what we see and the limitations and ‘imagine the possibilities.’ I am filled with gratitude for our children and the many people who worked so hard to make the dream of this park a reality,” added Anaman.

The playground was funded in part by Arlene & Arnold Goldstein Foundation. “The generosity of the Arlene & Arnold Goldstein Foundation enables hundreds of children now to have a place close to home where they can exercise both mind and muscles,” said Lee.

The Trust for Public Land has created 46 community playgrounds throughout New York City. In partnership with the city’s PlaNYC initiative, TPL is working to transform 151 schoolyards into playgrounds by 2010. The Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. 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.