The Trust for Public Land and New York Road Runners: Community Investment Initiative

As we continue to deliver on our mission to help and inspire people through running, we are so excited to continue our partnership with The Trust for Public Land in 2018, and pursue a common goal of making New York better today, in order to promise a better tomorrow. Through this partnership, we are transforming New York City public school playgrounds into state-of-the-art, green, community playgrounds.

About TPL

The Trust for Public Land—which receives public funding from the Departments of Education and Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority, the City Council, and the Manhattan Borough President, the Queens Borough President, and the Bronx Borough President—has developed 189 playgrounds in New York City. In addition to serving students during the school day, all playgrounds in NYC are open to the public on weekends and after school hours, providing opportunities for both children and adults to be physically active. 

NYRR's Involvement

To kick off the new partnership, New York Road Runners contributed an initial $1 million to help fund the design and construction of playgrounds at three school campuses: CS 154M in Harlem, PS 120 in Flushing, Queens, and the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex, which houses three schools on a shared campus in the Throgs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx (PS 392, IS 467, and IS 371).


A Student-Led Design Process

The new playgrounds were designed through a participatory design process led by students themselves. At each participating school, students survey their peers as part of a class project to learn the most popular playground features. Students then work with landscape architects to integrate the student wish list into the final design. The participatory design process teaches many valuable skills, including environmental science, budgeting, and negotiation.


Successes This School Year

Our three initial projects were completed by the end of 2017, with playgrounds opening in Throgs Neck, Flushing, and Harlem. Students at CS154M in Harlem welcomed Olympic medalist and Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor Jenny Simpson to their new playground during a special TCS New York City Marathon-week event. 

These three playgrounds include green infrastructure design elements, a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. These features, such as specialized plantings and porous pavement, help reduce storm 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.

In spring 2018, ground was broken at two more schools, PS581K in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and MS227Q in East Elmhurst, Queens.

The Transformed Playground at CS 154M in Harlem

What's Next

We plan to continue funding playground development across all five boroughs, with a groundbreaking to take place on Staten Island in fall 2018. The new playgrounds will replace dilapidated, arid blacktop that currently provides students’ only opportunity to play outdoors on school grounds.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the 2018-2019 school year!

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