NEW YORK—A new environmentally friendly school playground was unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Brooklyn’s P.S. 261 (Philip Livingston) on Sept. 19. The new playground is designed to collect rainwater and send it to the Gowanus Canal, reducing the burden on the city sewer system and at the same time bring clean water to local waterways.
“A new playground for the school community is incredible, a new playground for the school community that reduces local flooding and improves water quality is really magnificent,” said Marc Matsil, New York state director, The Trust for Public Land.
The new playground is the product of a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and New York City. The P.S. 261 playground is the first one finished of 40 planned new environmentally friendly playgrounds to be completed at NYC schools in the next five years. Two other playgrounds at Brooklyn schools will also open this fall, one at J.H.S 218 and another at P.S. 65.
School “is a place where children socialize, and learn to be good friends, and learn to be the person that they are going to grow up to be. You have provided us with a beautiful space for our children to run around, to play, and to learn about the environment,” said Zipporiah Mills, principal at P.S. 261, speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new playground replaces an asphalt blacktop. It incorporates trees, an AstroTurf play area, a small running track, and a garden. The playground surface is designed to direct rainwater into drains installed in the playground. It is projected to collect half a million tons of water each year.
The design and construction of the new playground cost approximately $1 million. Public funding was provided by the Department of Education, The Department of Environmental Protection, and by local Council member Stephen Levin, who contributed $200,000. Mizuho Bank’s Mizuho USA Foundation also donated to the project.
Over the next year the partnership will build 10 more new playgrounds at area schools.