A Playground Grows in Brooklyn (NYC)

Brooklyn, NY, 6/20/2007: Kindergartners through sixth-grade students at Luis Munoz Marin School, P.S. 314/503/506 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn today celebrated the opening of a new community playground that they designed. The students were 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), and the Center for Family Life. The ceremony included an elementary school musical performance and remarks by The Trust for Public Land’s Mary Alice Lee, P.S. 503 Principal David Weiner and P.S. 506 Principal Elizabeth Waters.

A team of students, teachers, and parents met regularly for three months to design the playground and park. The final design includes a vibrant mural, junior basketball and volleyball courts, running track, play spray, synthetic turf field, outdoor classroom, safety surface play area, painted games, trees and benches. The mural’s design theme, “Healthy Living,” was painted by Groundswell, the Center for Family Life, students, community members and members of The Trust for Public Land.

“Prior to the conversion, students played on a barren one-acre asphalt lot, longing for a place where they could play during recess or after school. Today, their dream became a reality,” said Rose Harvey, senior vice president of The Trust for Public Land.

Principal of David Weiner, who gave opening remarks said, “The new playground is a wonderful example of what is possible when all members of the school community work together towards a common goal. We are so happy to have a place where students, teachers, and families can come together and share experiences. It is a positive addition to our school and entire community.”

P.S. 506 Principal Elizabeth Waters, who gave closing remarks said, “The planning phase of the project was a wonderful learning opportunity for our students. They were actually able to design the park and it was very exciting to watch the project develop in stages and come to life. Our schoolyard transformed into a beautiful park setting and is now a community space that is enjoyed not only by our students but by their parents, family members, friends and neighbors.”

The playground is a $1 million investment in the community through the City Spaces program of The Trust for Public Land, made possible by a two-to-one funding match by the DOE. The playground is the eleventh of 25 community parks being created citywide through a partnership of TPL, the DOE, the School Construction Authority, community sponsors, and private donors.

“Center for Family Life is thrilled to see the beautifully renovated PS 503/506 schoolyard! It is truly a credit to the dedication, creativity, and hard work of so many members of our school and community in partnership with Trust for Public Land,” said Julie Stein Brockiway and John KixMiller, co-Directors of Center for Family Life.

The Trust for Public Land’s 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. All 25 sites will be completed 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.