New Playground Opens in Bedford-Stuyvesant, NYC

Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY 9/15/04 Today representatives from the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) were joined by students at P.S/I.S. 25 in Bedford-Stuyvesant at a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the school’s new playground. Also joining in the celebration were project partners including representatives from the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association, Inc. (CAMBA), and lead funders for the project, New York Life Foundation and Charles Hayden Foundation.

The lot next to the school, formerly barren asphalt with only two deteriorated basketball hoops, has been converted into a playground complete with a running track, basketball courts, fitness equipment, playground equipment, trees, benches, game tables, and a water fountain.

“We strive to provide new parks and open space in communities that are underserved by the traditional park system,” said Andy Stone, director of the New York City Program of the Trust for Public Land. “This new playground meets a critical need of Bedford-Stuyvesant for safe, accessible places for children to play.”

The new one-acre playground was created through the City Spaces program of the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization. This is the tenth playground created through the program in New York City.

The Trust for Public Land led the participatory process for the design of the playground involving students and staff from P.S./I.S. 25 and CAMBA. These junior architects managed tasks ranging from surveying the site and interviewing community stakeholders, to working with professional architects.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to provide our students and the community with this much needed resource. Our students diligently and ambitiously worked to ensure that this playground would accommodate the needs and interests of our community constituents,” said P.S./I.S. 25 Principal Carol Walcott.

Through their City Spaces program, the Trust for Public Land develops new community playgrounds in city neighborhoods underserved by the traditional parks system. The program is dedicated to providing permanent, community-managed recreation spaces. City Spaces is a public-private partnership, involving TPL, public agencies, and local organizations.

“CAMBA is excited that the students at P.S./I.S. 25 now have not only a safe place to learn, but a safe place to play. Our special thanks to all who made this possible—Principal Walcott, the teachers and students of P.S./I.S. 25, the Trust for Public Land, New York Life Foundation, and the Charles Hayden Foundation. We are very pleased to be a small part of what we know will be a great community resource for years to come,” said Joanne Oplustil, executive director of CAMBA

“The New York Life Foundation is delighted to celebrate the opening of the P.S./I.S. 25 playground, which offers students a safe recreational environment and has fostered hands-on learning, teamwork, and a sense of pride in the community,” said Peter Bushyeager, president of the New York Life Foundation.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the New York Life Foundation ( is the major vehicle through which New York Life Insurance Company channels contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its Nurturing the Children initiative, the Foundation supports organizations, programs and services that target young people, particularly in the areas of mentoring, safe places to learn and grow, and educational enhancement opportunities. Through Volunteers for LIFE, its national community involvement initiative, New York Life also encourages volunteer participation by its employees, agents, and retirees.

The Charles Hayden Foundation seeks to promote the mental, moral and physical development of children and youth ages three to eighteen 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.

Church Avenue Merchants Block Association, Inc. (CAMBA) is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization with programs throughout Brooklyn. CAMBA was formed as a merchants association in 1977, but in direct response to the emerging needs of the community, has steadily expanded its services to Brooklyn’s residents and businesses over the last 27 years. Today, CAMBA is one of Brooklyn’s largest community-based social service organizations and provides a continuum of employment, education, health-related, housing, legal, social, business development and youth services to approximately 28,000 individuals each year.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. The Parks for People Initiative of the Trust for Public Land works in cities across America to ensure that everyone—in particular every child—enjoys close-to-home access to a park, playground, or natural area. To accomplish this vision in New York City, TPL works with communities to create and sustain parks, especially in the city’s neediest neighborhoods. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.