TPL & MetLife Foundation Team Up for NYC Playgrounds

New York City, NY 3/20/2007: Today, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced a $600,000 grant from MetLife Foundation, expanding the MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund to $2.6 million. The grant will support creation of six new parks and playgrounds across the country, including three playgrounds in New York City.

The MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund was established in 2004 to support TPL’s Parks for People Initiative, which is working to ensure that everyone-in particular every child-enjoys close-to-home access to a park, playground, or natural area. MetLife Foundation’s renewed leadership support will help TPL bring new parks to underserved urban neighborhoods in New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.

“At a time when childhood obesity and diabetes are on the rise and health professionals nationwide are urging children and adults alike to be more active, these new community parks will provide much-needed opportunities for exercise,” said TPL president, Will Rogers.

With the new funding, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Harlem will be home to three new community playgrounds at J.H.S. 220, P.S. 130, and P.S. 242/Future Leaders Institute. The sites will be designed through an interactive process that includes community outreach, participatory design, environmental education, and stewardship training. More than 2,500 students and three new communities will have access to the sites.

The other cities benefiting from expansion of the MetLife Foundation Parks & Playgrounds Fund are:

  • Chicago – The city of Chicago is embarking on a large-scale plan for a three-mile elevated trail and park system, and TPL is actively working to establish new parks that will be key access points along the trail. The first access point on the Bloomingdale Trail is located in the Logan Square neighborhood and will serve over 4,000 children under the age of ten who live within one-half mile of the site.
  • Miami – Liberty Square is a public housing development of 700 housing units with little designated space for play activities for the more than 1,000 children nearby. The community is looking forward to having a well-designed play environment that will foster creativity and provide health benefits from hands-on play activity.
  • Los Angeles – TPL is transforming the 24th Street Elementary School playground into an interactive outdoor learning and play environment. Students and local residents will benefit from new walkways, landscaping, play equipment, a teaching garden, athletic fields, and picnic areas.

“When developed in collaboration with community groups and residents of all ages, parks and playgrounds can transform the lives of young people and revitalize entire neighborhoods,” said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. “We are proud to expand our partnership with TPL in bringing parks and playgrounds to the urban neighborhoods and youth that need them most.”

MetLife Foundation has contributed $2.6 million to assist TPL with creation of parks and playgrounds in ten cities nationwide, including New York City.

At each of the New York schools, young people design the parks that also benefit their communities. Plans for each of these sites include running tracks, turf fields, playground equipment, trees, and benches. The MetLife Foundation grant will go toward:

  • P.S. 130 in the Bronx includes a large play area as well as a teaching area where teachers and students will participate in workshops this month and next to learn about plants, grow seedlings for a new garden bed, and plant flowers and shrubs along with community volunteers. The playground dedication is scheduled for May.
  • Junior High School 220 in Borough Park, Brooklyn serves 1,400 students in grades six through eight. Their new playground will be dedicated in May.
  • P.S. 242/Future Leaders Institute (FLI) in Harlem serves approximately 600 students. Playground construction will begin in April, with the opening planned for fall.

Neighborhood parks and open spaces not only improve physical and psychological health, but also strengthen communities and make cities and neighborhoods more attractive places to live and work. TPL’s Parks for People Initiative is revitalizing the city parks movement, and building partnerships among community groups, government agencies, and residents through the creation of parks, play fields, playgrounds, and gardens, often on the site of vacant lots and abandoned buildings.

“With 80 percent of Americans living in cities, and as many as three in four residents without access to a park, the need is great for support to create new parks,” said Rogers. “This grant from MetLife Foundation is a welcome and exciting evolution of our long and successful partnership since 1986, again demonstrating their ongoing commitment to and passion for livable cities.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has conserved more than two million acres of land nationwide. For more information about TPL, visit

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Grants support education, health, civic, and cultural programs. For more information about the Foundation, visit