Result of $10.6 Million Plan to Improve Community Recreation and Health, Create Green Infrastructure to Reduce Flood Risk and Improve Water Quality
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking for another rebuilt, environmentally resilient community playground at PS 152/315 as part of the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, the Governor's community development program bringing necessary resources to underserved neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn.
"Playgrounds and open green spaces are a critical component of our Vital Brooklyn initiative to help reverse the chronic disparities in the Central Brooklyn community," Governor Cuomo said. "This new community playground will provide children and families with a safe place to play and enjoy the countless benefits of outdoor recreation."
"The Vital Brooklyn Initiative is focused on improving quality of life and transforming Brooklyn for the future," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Children and families should be able to enjoy modern, safe, and accessible playgrounds, and that is why they are a central part of our efforts to improve neighborhoods in Brooklyn. This project continues our efforts to invest in projects that grow the economy and increase recreational opportunities for New Yorkers."
The groundbreaking took place for the new $2.2 million playground at PS 152/315, 725 East 23rd St., which will serve a community of more than 16,500 people. About $1.5 million is coming from State parks under the Vital Brooklyn initiative, with another $700,000 coming from the New York City Council.
The new playground was designed by students, staff, parents, and community members through The Trust for Public Land's NYC Playgrounds Program. Four such playgrounds, serving more than 105,000 Brooklyn residents, have already opened under the Vital Brooklyn initiative since September 2018, and all the remaining projects should all be open by next summer.
Vital Brooklyn is transforming eight asphalt schoolyards into playgrounds designed by local students, with new equipment, multi-purpose fields, grass, trees and in some cases green infrastructure that will lessen the harmful impact of heavy rains on the city's stressed combined sewer system.
Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, "Governor Cuomo knows that parks, playgrounds and green spaces make life better for a community. New York State Parks wants every Brooklyn resident to be close to a great community playground."
Senator Kevin Parker said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for prioritizing our youth and the health of our community through the Vital Brooklyn Initiative. Revitalizing our current playgrounds while increasing funding for green, resilient community playgrounds is a great way to ensure that our students and the larger community have access to quality outdoor space for recreational activities that will ultimately improve their quality of life."
Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte said, "I along with many of my constituents are excited to have a newly designed playground come to our community. The ability to have access to this space offered to the community after school hours is much needed for many families. Trust for Public Land (TPL) has been gracious in this design process, incorporating design ideas from the students and parents. This community has been deprived of open and green space, and the number of community members who have contributed to this project is greatly appreciated. The introduction of new/redesigned community playgrounds in Central Brooklyn under the Vital Brooklyn initiative is definitely a healthy, recreational, and safe path for the residents of Brooklyn."
City Council Member Farah Louis said, "One of the greatest gifts that a child could ever receive is the freedom to explore their imagination and creativity. Transforming a schoolyard into a playground has been such a tremendous opportunity for our youth to see their vision come to life in real-time. Every acre of parkland is another step towards a healthier, brighter future for our entire community. As a lifelong resident of the 45th Council District, I know the importance of recreational activities and safe spaces for children to be themselves."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said, "Parks are the great equalizer, and I'm pleased to see PS 152 School of Science & Technology get a brand-new playground that will enhance community recreation in Flatbush. This investment is creating vitally important greenspace for Central Brooklyn, which is critical to closing health disparities and enhancing safer places to raise healthy children and families."
In addition to the $10.6 million effort to enhance playgrounds, Vital Brooklyn has renovated 21 of 22 designated community gardens and improved three of four designated recreation centers in Central Brooklyn.
The four playgrounds already opened are located at PS 145, 100 Noll St.; PS 213/The New Lots School, 560 Hegeman Ave.; NS 354/KIPP Academy Middle and Elementary Schools at 1224 Park Place; and Winthrop School Campus, 905 Winthrop St.
The playground projects are also supported by the not-for-profit Trust for Public Land, which help coordinate additional funding from city Department of Environmental Protection and from private philanthropy.
New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land Carter Strickland said, "Everyone, and every child, deserves a great park near where they live, and we're thrilled to have worked with the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative to bring an exceptional playground to Midwood. Now, 16,554 more New Yorkers will have a new park within 10 minutes of where they live. This new playground will bring folks from across the neighborhood together, provide a great place to play outside, and is a critical part of keeping everyone healthy."
Launched in 2017, Governor Cuomo's Vital Brooklyn effort targets some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York State, including Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, East New York, East Flatbush, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Cypress Hills/Ocean Hill and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Focusing on these Central Brooklyn communities, the initiative addresses a critical need for green space in a city where 73 percent of low-income neighborhoods fail to meet the city's standard of 2.5 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents.
Vital Brooklyn also supports Governor Cuomo's "Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly NY" Executive Order, which directs state agencies to incorporate the principles of age- and health-friendly communities into all relevant programs and policies. The effort supports access to healthy food and safe and clean outdoor public space and expands opportunities for outdoor recreation.
With a total budget of $1.4 billion, the Vital Brooklyn initiative seeks to transform Central Brooklyn by identifying and investing in eight integrated areas that will help establish a national paradigm for addressing chronic disparities, such as systemic violence and entrenched poverty in high-need communities.
The comprehensive plan targets increased access to open spaces and recreation, which includes the opening in July 2019 of the new 407-acre Shirley Chisholm State Park, named in honor of the Brooklyn-born trailblazer who was the nation's first African American congresswoman, as well as the first African American woman to run for President.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
State Parks oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches, and more, which were visited by a record 74 million people last year. For more information about any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.