New Student-Designed “Green” Playground at PS 84Q Astoria reduces flooding, improves Health of East River, Long Island Sound

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The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has joined Tuesday, October 5 with The Trust for Public Land, Con Edison, students, faculty and local families to celebrate the grand opening of a new student-designed green playground at P.S. 84Q in Astoria, Queens. The state-of-the-art 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. Newly installed green infrastructure will capture 655,000 gallons of stormwater each year—reducing flooding and helping to improve the health of the nearby Bowery Bay, which is connected to the Upper East River and Long Island Sound.

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.

“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.”

“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.”

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.

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 the NYC Park Equity Plan, TPL is planning to build 100 more in neighborhoods that have crowded parks. Additionally, TPL 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 their 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.

This project would not have been possible without the support and funding from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., former Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and former Council Member Costa Constantinides.

About the New York City Department of Environmental Protection

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

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 within a 10-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 www.tpl.org.

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