Student-Designed Playground Opens in Maspeth, NY

Maspeth, New York, 9/25/2008: A vibrant, new community playground designed by middle school students was celebrated Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 10:00 A.M. at the Frank Sansivieri I.S. 73Q School located at 70-02 54th Avenue in Maspeth, Queens. The celebration included student choir and colorguard performances.

The space, formerly a barren asphalt lot, was transformed into a new community playground with help from The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and a dedicated team composed of middle school students, parents, and members of the community. Maspeth Town Hall is the local sponsor. The $1 million project was funded by the City of New York with a generous private grant from The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

The Trust for Public Land worked with I.S. 73 students and community members in design sessions held from September, 2007 through November, 2007. Construction of the site began of March, 2008 and was recently completed.

The Frank Sansivieri I.S. 73Q Community Playground will serve the 1,800 students at I.S. 73 as well as children and families in the surrounding community. The transformed site now includes a basketball court, game tables, a gazebo, a multipurpose track and field, a drinking fountain, a handball court, a painted maze, play equipment, a world map, a forest trail, picnic tables, benches, garden beds, and two outdoor classrooms, all of which were unveiled at the community celebration.

Remarks were made by Andy Stone, irector of The Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People-New York City Program and I.S. 73 Principal Patricia Reynolds.

“Before the transformation, students played on a bleak asphalt lot, yearning for a place where they could play safely during recess or after school. Today, their dream became a reality,” said Andy Stone, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People-New York City initiative.

“Our schoolyard will support the health and well being of the community, and our outdoor classrooms will support the academic achievement of our students. We are very grateful to The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and The Trust for Public Land for helping us create a space that will nurture the mind, body and spirit of each member of our community,” said Principal Patricia Reynolds.

The site is the second to be built by The Trust for Public Land as part of their citywide partnership with the City of New York under the PlaNYC 2030 initiative to transform schoolyards to playgrounds. The initiative will ultimately impact 290 schoolyards throughout the city. To date, The Trust for Public Land has built 31 playgrounds in New York City and another six in Newark, NJ.