July 21, 2017
$24 Million in NYC Parks and Community Development Block Grant Funding to Help Close Walk to a Park Gap
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced that 10 new sites will be added to the Schoolyards to Playgrounds program, with many of the sites slated for full capital renovations or minor improvements. Funded with more than $24 million dollars, with $18.2 million from NYC Parks and $6 million in Community Development Block Grants, these additional Brooklyn and Queens sites will help to close the city’s walk to a park goal of bringing 85 percent of New Yorkers within walking distance to a park by 2030.
“Every New Yorker deserves access to quality recreational space," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.”This program is an innovative way to bring more residents within walking distance to a park simply by opening up our schoolyards to the public when school isn't in session."
“Schoolyards to Playgrounds is a powerful partnership founded on the belief that public spaces are where our communities thrive. These ten new sites are targeted strategically in neighborhoods with below-average access to public space, and will bring even more New York City families within a walk to a park where they can play, relax, and grow,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.
“Schools are hubs for communities and the Schoolyards to Playgrounds initiative provides public space for children in the area to play and be active,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “It’s important for children to engage in physical activity from a young age and this will provide additional space for families to come together and strengthen community relationships.”
Schoolyards to Playgrounds opens school play space during non-school hours. Currently, there are 251 schoolyards are already open in this capacity, and upon renovation completion, the expansion brings the number to 261 across the five boroughs. This new investment will also fund improvements to existing sites in the program, including PS 54 in Queens. Each site receiving complete capital reconstruction will receive up to $3 million dollars for completion; improvement site funding varies. Additionally, NYC DOE will provide $70,000 in funding annually, per site, for custodial labor and supplies.
Full capital construction:
No Improvements Needed:
NYC Parks has conducted community input meetings for IS 228 and PS 361 and are expected for fall 2019 completion; both are currently in design.
“Playgrounds provide public space for students, families and community members to come together and be active,” said Lorraine Grillo, School Construction Authority President and CEO. “We look forward to working with the Parks Department, schools and community members throughout the renovation process to ensure the design meets the needs of the community.”
Senator Leroy Comrie said: "This investment will not only benefit NYC students, but also residents of all ages in the 14th Senate District. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Silver, and Chancellor Fariña for their commitment to expanding access to our City's parks in areas that are currently underserved."
Assembly Member Clyde Vanel said: "I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner Silver, and Chancellor Fariña on understanding the importance in investing in our children, they should have a great environment to play in. Our next generation is so critical to the development of our community and this initiative highlights that."
"My office continues to promote a healthy lifestyle and I am pleased the administration is funding these capital improvements so residents in Southeast Queens will have additional places to exercise," said Councilman I. Daneek Miller. "The improvements to our schools playground will be another step in the right direction to ensure our young scholars are physically active at a young age, and I would like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and Chancellor Carmen Farina, for making today's announcement possible."