NYRR and The Trust for Public Land Break Ground at PS 120 in Queens

On May 23, the Queens Borough President, The Trust for Public Land, New York Road Runners, and NYC Department of Environmental Protection broke ground to turn PS 120Q’s asphalt playground into a state-of-the-art green playground the whole community can use.

“We are pleased to help break ground on much-needed upgrades to PS 120Q’s new, state-of-the-art playground. Mayor de Blasio, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Councilmember Peter Koo, the New York Road Runners and the Trust for Public Land deserve to be commended for joining me in spearheading the effort to improve this vital playground,” stated Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

PS 120Q is one of three schools in a new partnership between The Trust for Public Land and New York Road Runners, who contributed an initial $1 million to help pay for designing and building playgrounds at CS 154 (Harlem), PS 120 (Flushing, Queens), and the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex, which houses three schools on a shared campus in the Throgs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx (PS 392, IS 467, and IS 371).

These three projects will be completed by the end of 2017, and will replace dilapidated, arid blacktop that currently provides students’ only opportunity to play outdoors on school grounds. Ultimately, NYRR is planning on funding playground development in all five boroughs over the next few years.

“A shared commitment to encouraging the youth of New York City’s five boroughs to get outside and active is what makes New York Road Runners’ partnership with the Trust for Public Land so impactful,” said Michael Capiraso, President and CEO at NYRR. “The groundbreaking at PS 120Q is our second since partnering with the Trust for Public Land. We are proud to work together to transform public school playgrounds into state-of-the-art community playgrounds, and look forward to providing an enhanced facility for running and many other outdoor activities to the students of PS 120Q, where more than 700 of the 215,000 kids who take part in NYRR free youth running programs attend school.”

NYRR President and CEO Michael Capiraso speaks with students from PS 120 in Queens.

The new playgrounds were designed through a participatory design process led by the students. At each school, students survey their peers as part of a class project to learn the most popular playground features. Students then work with landscape architects to include the student wish list into the final design. The participatory design process teaches many valuable skills, including environmental science, budgeting, and negotiation.

The three playgrounds include green infrastructure elements, such as specialized plantings and shade trees, porous pavement and permeable pavers. Also included is a new synthetic turf field of woven polyester filaments and featuring a broken stone storage layer and perforated distribution pipes to promote infiltration. Such green infrastructure design elements are a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. These features reduce storm runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing untreated water to end up in rivers and bays. Each playground absorbs hundreds of thousands of gallons of water annually and includes 20-30 new trees that bring shade and better air quality to their neighborhoods. The Trust for Public Land receives public funding from the Departments of Education and Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority, the City Council and the Queens Borough President, the Manhattan Borough President, and the Bronx Borough President.

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