New Playground for Queens Public School, Hollis Community

Today I.S. 238 students celebrated the new community playground they helped design in Hollis, Queens. The new playground, created in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative, will be available to the school’s 1,700 students and to families from the surrounding community.

Previously a mostly vacant lot, the schoolyard at the Susan B. Anthony I.S. 238 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 playground was funded in part by TPL’s New York Advisory Board and TPL donors.

“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.

I.S. 238, located at 88-15 182nd Street in Queens, has a diverse student body of more than 1,700 sixth-through-eighth grade students. TPL led a three-month participatory design process with students, community members, and staff from the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation to design the new playground to better serve the needs of the children and the community. The park will be named Eagle Park for the school’s mascot.

“This state-of-the-art outdoor sports facility is the result of a successful collaboration between The Susan B. Anthony Academy, Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, and the benefactor, The Trust for Public Land,” said Principal Joseph Gates. “Eagle Park will provide a beautiful sports area for the entire community that will inspire good health and recreation for generations to come. The design and layout was the brainchild of Susan B. Anthony Academy students, who took part in the democratic process to determine which features would be prominent in Eagle Park. As a Principal, I am extremely proud that an outdoor classroom was one of their highest priorities.”

The playground features an artificial turf field, gazebo, open planting beds, multi-purpose courts, outdoor classroom, performance area, trees, benches, and basketball courts. I.S. 238 will continue to be supported by the New York Junior Tennis League.

“It is our expectation that Eagle Park will be one of the most utilized recreational additions to ever come to the Hollis community,” added Gates.

The playground at I.S. 238 was created in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative and is the 23rd of 28 community parks that TPL is designing and building as part of this program. When completed the parks will serve 380,000 New York City students and residents.

“The generosity of TPL’s New York City advisory board and donors 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 48 community playgrounds throughout New York City. In partnership with the city’s PlaNYC initiative, TPL is working to transform 151 schoolyards into playgrounds by 2011. 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.