By Gina Martinez
Students at PS 120 attended their school’s ground-breaking Tuesday after helping to design the new playground set to be completed in the fall.
The students were joined by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Peter Koo (D- Flushing), members of the New York Road Runners, The Trust for Public Land, and the city Department of Environmental Protection to break ground on PS 120’s asphalt playground. The playground will be converted into a green playground that the entire Flushing community can utilize.
PS 120 is one of three schools in a new partnership between The Trust for Public Land and New York Road Runners, which contributed $1 million to help pay for designing and building playgrounds at PS 120, CS 154 in Harlem, and the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex in the Bronx, which houses PS 392, IS 467, and IS 371.
The new playground at PS 120 was designed through a participatory design process led by fourth-grade students. Students surveyed their peers as part of a class project to learn the most popular playground features. Students then worked with landscape architects to incorporate the student wish list into the final design. According to The Trust for Public Land, the participatory design process teaches many valuable skills, including environmental science, budgeting and negotiation.
Some of the features of the new playground include green infrastructure elements, such as specialized planting and shade trees, porous pavement and permeable pavers. There will also be a new synthetic turf field of woven polyester filaments and a broken stone storage layer and perforated distribution pipes to promote infiltration.
The DEP said these new features will help reduce storm runoff that can flood streets, overwhelm sewer systems and thwart untreated water from ending up in rivers and bays. The new playgrounds will absorb hundreds of thousands of gallons of water annually and will include 20-30 new trees that bring shade and better air quality to their neighborhoods.
Katz said the new environmentally friendly park will benefit future generations.
“We are growing in the borough of Queens,” she said “We are working to make sure we not only provide for this generation, but for all these kids and families that are saving and sacrificing all over the world to bring their children right here to Queens. Building green parks with DEP accomplishes that. We need to make sure we’re building for their future as well. This is the perfect example of the community being involved with our future generation. Thank you for taking that time with your kids to make sure we do it right.”
Koo, who provided $300,000 in funding for the project, said he was thrilled about the upcoming playground.
“As a Council member, I take particular pride in funding playgrounds as they are essential pieces of a well-rounded education,” he said. “This upgraded playground at PS 120Q will give our kids a new and exciting reason to enjoy their time at school.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart