Red Hook Students Celebrate New Playground (NYC)

Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY, 5/6/2008: Kindergarteners through fifth-grade students at P.S. 15 Patrick F. Daly in the Red Hook section of 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 celebration included a student performance and presentation and remarks by The Trust for Public Land’s Rose Harvey and P.S. 15 Principal Peggy Wyns-Madison.

“Prior to the transition, students played on a barren one-acre asphalt lot, yearning 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.

The Trust for Public Land worked with students and community members from P.S. 15 and Good Shepherd Services, the community sponsor, to design the new schoolyard to better serve the needs of the children and neighbors in the community. Once a week for three months, TPL worked with third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade classes during school as well as an after school group consisting of students, neighbors, and Good Shepherd Services staff. The final design includes a track and field, a basketball court, a garden, a bike rack, jump rope area, play equipment, trees, and benches.

“Good Shepherd Services is proud to partner with The Trust for the Public Land, with K2, P.S. 15, and with the broader community to bring new and vibrant playground space to the children and families of Red Hook,” said Paulette LoMonaco, executive director of Good Shepherd Services. “This project is a natural outgrowth of our collaboration with the school, where we have enjoyed a unique presence for more than 15 years, as well as our 30 year commitment to the Red Hook community.”

Funding for the new playground was provided the New York City Department of Education, with private funds donated by William Douglass and David Saunders, partners at K2 Advisors.

“Kids need and deserve a safe place to play,” said William Douglass, who lives in Brooklyn and understands the need for such places.

“A track, field, play equipment, and all of the amenities added to this schoolyard make it an inviting place for children to include outdoor activity in their daily lives,” said David Saunders.

“The P.S. 15 school faculty, student body, parents, and I are extremely proud of the group of students who worked on the project,” said Principal Peggy Wyns-Madison. “These students identified needs, created a design, and helped plan and carry out the steps to turn their design into a reality, leaving a wonderful legacy for our school and the Red Hook community to cherish for years to come.”

This is one of two playgrounds dedicated by The Trust for Public Land this month. Last week, M.S. 53 in Far Rockaway, Queens opened their new student-designed site. In addition, The Trust for Public Land has begun work with the City of New York as part of Mayor’s PlaNYC initiative to transform schoolyards into community playgrounds. TPL is working with the city to transform 185 playground lots to vibrant community 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 290 neighborhood parks in New York City. The permanent protection of more than 290 acres and the design, construction, and stewardship of these sites is valued at $200 million.