New Student-Designed Playground for Brooklyn (NYC)

Brooklyn, NY, 5/22/2007: Sixth- through eighth-grade students at I.S. 220 in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn will celebrate the opening of a new community playground that they helped design. They will be joined by teachers, parents, members of the community, and representatives from The Trust for Public Land (TPL), the New York City Department of Education (DOE), the Chinese American Planning Council, MetLife Foundation and the Charles Hayden Foundation.

A team students, teachers, and parents met regularly for three months to design the park. The final design includes an artificial turf field, a track, a basketball court, a tennis and volleyball court, a fitness area, an outdoor classroom, a quiet area, and trees and benches throughout the new community space.

“Prior to the conversion, students played on a one-acre lot of cracked concrete, longing for a place where they could play handball and soccer. Today, their dream became a reality,” said Rose Harvey, senior vice president of The Trust for Public Land.

“The new schoolyard has been a wonderful addition to our school and there have been many positive remarks from the community about the beautiful addition,” said I.S. 220 Principal Loretta M. Witek.

The playground is a one million dollar investment in the community through the City Spaces program of The Trust for Public Land, made possible by lead private funding from MetLife Foundation and the Charles Hayden Foundation and a two-to-one funding match by the DOE. The playground is the ninth of 25 community parks being created citywide through a partnership of TPL, the DOE, the School Construction Authority, community sponsors, and private donors.

“MetLife Foundation is committed to building healthy communities with safe places for young people to play and grow,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president, MetLife Foundation. “We are pleased to join TPL, the Department of Education, the Charles Hayden Foundation and I.S. 220 students, teachers and parents in creating this new resource for the Borough Park community.

The Chinese American Planning Council runs recreational programming at the school six days a week and plans to make excellent use of the new playground.

The City Spaces program targets New York City neighborhoods least served by the current park system. For each $1 million playground, funding is raised by TPL from private donors, foundations, and corporations, and is matched two-to one by the DOE. Two more playgrounds will be dedicated in June. All 25 sites will be completed by 2010.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) 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. For more information, visit

MetLife Foundation, established by MetLife in 1976, supports health, education, civic, and cultural programs throughout the United States. For more information about the Foundation, visit