A new (profound) playground in Queens, New York: PS 84Q Community Schoolyard

Trust for Public Land opening ceremony PS 84 community playground, September 23, 2021

Our team was thrilled to open a new playground in Queens this month. The site features some amazing, slightly existential, student art created on the “Welcome to the Future” theme their school community voted on during the participatory design process. The schoolyard is a place to connect, play, learn, and contemplate the history of life on Earth!

A dinoasaur traveling through a wormhole? A memento mori skull to contemplate your existence (while you run? These kids are deep! Can you tell this playground opened during a global pandemic?
Start your run from the birth of our planet 4.56 billion years ago. run through the evolution of dinosaurs and end at 0, the complicated world of humans today! We love how this yard encourages curiosity and learning through play.
The students get to ponder on their place among the stars in one of two outdoor classrooms in their new playground.
The kids even included some ideas on where the future may lead? Connection to extraterristerials, perhaps?
And, of course, the garden’s art features a beautiful homage to this moment of life in the big timeline of our planet.

See the Big Press Release here:

The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Con Edison, today opened a newly renovated schoolyard at P.S. 84Q in Queens.

The schoolyard was designed using The Trust for Public Land’s unique participatory design process with teachers and students and will include a include turf field, running track, play equipment, fitness equipment, turf pod, bleachers, water fountain, benches and game tables, trees, outdoor classroom and garden. Green infrastructure elements will capture 655,000  gallons of stormwater each year, helping to improve the health of the nearby Bowery Bay, which is connected to the Upper East River and Long Island Sound. The schoolyard will be open to the community during non-school hours and will serve nearly 18,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of home.

Green infrastructure design elements, including permeable pavers, a synthetic turf field, and specifically chosen plantings and trees, were made possible in part through DEP’s contribution of $411,000 and are a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. These features reduce the stormwater runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, as occurred recently with Hurricane Ida.  Green infrastructure will also reduce sewer overflows that allow untreated water to end up in rivers and bays. Each playground absorbs hundreds of thousands of gallons of water annually and includes new trees that bring shade and better air quality to their neighborhoods.

Here’s the 84Q schoolyard before our intervention. Whew! What an improvement!

“During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers have recognized that parks and playgrounds are essential for mental and physical well-being,” said Carter Strickland, New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land. “This schoolyard has a new outdoor classroom so that students have the opportunity to safely study while connecting with classmates, and after school hours, it will be a critical community hub. We are grateful to DEP, Con Edison, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and former Councilmember Costa Constantinides for their partnership in making this schoolyard a reality.”

“DEP is proud to join with The Trust for Public Land, as well as the entire PS 84Q community, especially the talented student designers, to celebrate the opening of their new, environmentally-friendly school playground,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “This green playground will absorb an estimated 655,000 gallons of stormwater annually, which reduces pressure on the neighborhood sewer system and will help to prevent flooding.  This is the 23rd green playground we have completed with The Trust for Public Land and we look forward to more openings in the coming months.”

For nearly 25 years, The Trust for Public Land has guided thousands of students and parents to make the most of their schoolyards, putting 215 community schoolyards where they are needed most.  Under our NYC Park Equity Plan, TPL is planning to build 100 more in neighborhoods that have crowded parks; our data shows that communities of color have 33% less park space per capita in NYC.

Nationwide, the Trust for Public Land has transformed more than 300 underused schoolyards into nature-rich parks designed to address inequities in education, health, and climate impacts. Every one of our green schoolyard transformations includes agreements between a school district and other local agencies to allow the community to use the space when school is closed. According to new research from The Trust for Public Land, open access to all public schoolyards across the country during non-school hours would put a park within a 10-minute walk of more than 19.6 million people, including 5.2 million children, who currently lack access. 

“We are proud to support this project which will provide recreational amenities and urban green space for the children who attend P.S. 84Q and the thousands more who live in the neighborhood,” said Frances A. Resheske, Con Edison’s senior vice president of Corporate Affairs. “As New York City’s energy provider, Con Edison is committed to supporting a sustainable future for all. Public spaces with green infrastructure play an important part in meeting the social and environmental health needs of New Yorkers. We want to thank the Trust for Public Land and the NYC DEP for partnering with us to create this space which will make a lasting and positive impact on our community.” This project would not have been possible without the support and funding from local elected leaders, including Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. and Council Member Costa Constantini.

Trust for Public Land opening ceremony PS 84 community playground, September 23, 2021

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