The Trust for Public Land, New York Road Runners, and Local Officials Host Opening Ceremony for New, Student-Designed Playground to Serve East Elmhurst Neighborhood

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The Trust for Public Land, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and New York Road Runners joined I.S. 227Q-Louis Armstrong Middle School students and faculty October 29 to open a new, state-of-the-art green playground to serve the school and surrounding community.

The Trust for Public Land, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and New York Road Runners joined I.S. 227Q-Louis Armstrong Middle School students and faculty October 29 to open a new, state-of-the-art green playground to serve the school and surrounding community, providing more than 38,000 residents a new park within a 10-minute walk of home. The $1.3 million playground includes a running track, turf field, basketball hoops, volleyball court, trees, benches, handball court, gazebo, play equipment, and a time capsule.

The I.S. 227Q playground is funded is part through the Queens Borough President’s office, New York Road Runners, and the Trust for Public Land.

"The student-designed and environmentally friendly playground is a significant investment in the future of the community and will be a recreational resource for the growing families of East Elmhurst,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “New York Road Runners and the Trust for Public Land deserve to be commended for this collaborative effort to make this playground a reality."

At the ceremony, students buried a time capsule, set to be open again in 2038, containing many items, including food menus, class lists, photos of school activities, letters from students and the principal, newspaper pages, and a fidget spinner.

“Access to beautiful, safe and fun outdoor spaces can make a world of difference for New York City students, and through our Partnership with the Trust for Public Land we have witnessed first-hand how impactful a schoolyard transformation can be,” said Rachel Pratt, Senior Vice President of Youth and Community Services at New York Road Runners. “We are thrilled to be opening the new playground in East Elmhurst during race week of the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, and are looking forward to many runs in the years ahead with the Rising New York Road Runners at I.S. 227.”

The new park was created in partnership with The Trust for Public Land’s Playgrounds Program, which serves to create vibrant, educational, and fun playgrounds for New York City’s schoolchildren. All Trust for Public Land playgrounds include student participation in the design process, providing them with hands-on learning of the science, math, and architecture that goes into designing playgrounds while giving them an opportunity to voice their thoughts on what is needed in their school’s playground. Students at I.S. 227, as well as parents and neighbors, got the chance to contribute to the playground design process and construction of the playground began in summer 2018.

“All residents of Queens deserve a great park within a 10-minute walk of home, and this playground will provide more than 38,000 East Elmhurst residents with a new and vibrant local green space to enjoy with their families,” said Carter Strickland, The Trust for Public Land’s New York State Director. “We’re proud of our partnership with Borough President Melinda Katz and New York Road Runners, and grateful to the faculty and students at I.S. 227 and the East Elmhurst community in creating this new park.”

"To say that this is a monumental endowment to the school and the community at large would be a tremendous understatement,” said I.S. 227 Principal Helen Ponella. “We are overwhelmed by Borough President Melinda Katz's generosity and concern for our school and community. Having the tired worn out space where unwanted cracks and puddles have formed from over three decades of wear and tear transformed into dedicated fields for athletic activities and quiet places for reflection where our young minds and bodies can blossom and where the neighborhood can flourish is a gift to our students and surrounding residents that will be utilized and appreciated for decades to come."

Green infrastructure design elements, made possible in part through a partnership with DEP, are a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. These features reduce stormwater 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.

Since 1996, working with the City, The Trust for Public Land’s NYC Playgrounds Program has designed and/or built 200 school and community playgrounds across the five boroughs. In addition to serving students, all playgrounds in New York City are open to the public on weekends, after school, and during school breaks, providing opportunities for both children and adults to be physically active. The program has added more than 160 acres of additional playground space serving the nearly 4 million people who live within a 10-minute walk of one of the sites. The need is critical in a city where 73 percent of low-income neighborhoods fail to meet the city’s standard of 2.5 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents.

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. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of 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 http://www.tpl.org.

About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
In 2018, NYRR is celebrating 60 years of helping and inspiring people through running. Since 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, free youth running initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. To learn more, visit http://www.nyrr.org.

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