Part of $10.6 Million Plan to Improve Community Recreation and Health, Create Green Infrastructure to Reduce Flood Risk and Improve Water Quality
Supports State's "Health Across All Policies" Initiative
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking for a new $1.4 million community playground at PS 115 as part of the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, the Governor's community development program for underserved neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn.
"Playgrounds and open green spaces are a crucial part of our Vital Brooklyn initiative that has helped create vibrant, thriving communities in Central Brooklyn," Governor Cuomo said. "This safe and modern new community playground will be a new resource for children and families to enjoy the countless benefits of outdoor recreation, while supporting the health and wellbeing of more than 16,500 people."
"The Vital Brooklyn Initiative is focused on improving quality of life and transforming Brooklyn for the future," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "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 groundbreaking 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 $1.48 million playground at PS 115, 1500 East 92nd St., Brooklyn, which serves a community of more than 16,500 people. It includes an artificial turf field, running track, basketball practice hoops, play equipment, game tables and benches, trees, impervious pavers, a stage, a gazebo with a living "green roof," an outdoor classroom, colorful art and a drinking fountain.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation funded the project under Governor Cuomo's Vital Brooklyn initiative. The New York City Council, through Member Alan Maisel, also earmarked $250,000 for the project.
Students, staff, parents and community members designed the new playground through The Trust for Public Land's NYC Playgrounds Program. Five such playgrounds, serving more than 135,000 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 understands that every community benefits from having safe, modern playgrounds for its children. We are proud of helping ensure that every Brooklyn resident will be near a great community playground."
New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land Carter Strickland said, "We are proud to be bringing a new quality playground to Brooklyn. 16,500 more New Yorkers will now have a new park within 10 minutes of where they live. This playground will provide a range of benefits for the local community and we look forward to working on the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative in the future to ensure every young person in Brooklyn has access to a great playground."
Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said, "I commend Governor Cuomo and the Vital Brooklyn initiative for creating another playground in Senate District 19. Our students need recreational spaces that foster healthy activities, and teachers and residents alike can look forward to the children playing in the renovated, greener and healthier spaces. Today's groundbreaking is an exciting development, and I look forward to its completion next summer."
Senator Kevin Parker said, "As the Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I understand the importance of providing green spaces for our working families. I have a special appreciation for new green spaces in traditionally marginalized communities like some of the neighborhoods I represent - where poor air quality directly correlates with record-breaking cases of asthma; just as the lack of safe recreational space is a driver of childhood obesity rates. I applaud Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the Legislature for making this a priority in the Vital Brooklyn initiative. I stand eager to break-ground on more safe spaces across the State of New York for our youth and their families."
Assembly Member Jaime Williams said, "The importance of the Governor's initiative and the Park's department cannot be overstated. A playground is not just a "playground"; it allows for the growth of social interaction, bolstering of an individual's self- confidence and of course the allowance of the simple respite of play. Vital Brooklyn is a cornerstone that will insure the furtherance of our communities for generations to come. As a resident and an elected official, I am grateful to have this honor of being part of this program."
Council Member Alan Maisel, "I am pleased to be a partner in the new, state-of-the art playground at PS 115 in Canarsie, Brooklyn. As a former educator, I know first-hand how vital playgrounds are for school children and the community-at-large for exercise, recreation and team-building skills. I am especially pleased that local students assisted in the design of the area which will feature kid-friendly and desired equipment. Having the students and local youth play an active role in the design is a wonderful idea."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said, "I'm glad that the children and families of Canarsie will soon benefit from a new community playground at PS 115 Daniel Mucatel School. This investment will enhance vitally important greenspace for our borough, while providing a dynamic and engaging recreation space that contributes to improved public health."
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 five playgrounds already opened are located at:
- PS 156/ IS 392, 104 Sutter Ave.
- 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
- 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.
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 learn more about The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit here.
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.