City officials came together in Jamaica on Nov. 17 to break ground on renovations that will transform a public schoolyard into a new community playground.
Working with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, the city is renovating the P.S. 140 (Edward “Duke” Ellington School) playground into a state-of-the-art green space ideal for children from ages 5 through 12. P.S. 140 is located at 166-01 116th Ave. Once finished, the playground will include a running track, athletic turf field, a handball wall, basketball hoops, game tables, trees, play equipment and a gazebo.
“The jazz great Duke Ellington was an innovative musician who would have been proud to see a playground of such inventive and creative design be built at the school that bears his name,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz at the ceremony. “This student-designed and environmentally friendly playground will be a critically important recreational resource that will help our children be physically active.”
Katz ,along with Councilman I. Daneek Miller and other community and parks leaders, participated in the ground-breaking.
“Today we celebrate the unveiling of the playground design conceived in the imaginations of the students of P.S. 140 Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller. “This self-made concept embodies the true spirit of a ‘For Us, By Us’ community based public works model; a key principle of the Trust for Public Land.”
The playground is being developed through a Trust for Public Land program that involves the input of students and community residents in planning and designing new community play areas. More than 100 students from P.S. 140 participated in the design process, and come next June, their vision for a new playground will be come a reality.
“The Trust for Public Land worked with the students and staff at PS 140Q to design, and with local elected officials to fund, this much needed, state-of-the-art playground for Jamaica,” said Carter Strickland, The Trust for Public Land’s New York State Director. “The creation of this green space will not only serve the needs of the school, but will create a beautiful, new park for the entire community to enjoy.”
David Norment, principal of P.S. 140, thanked Katz, Miller and the Trust for Public Land for helping to make the project happen.
“With P.S. 140 being awarded a five-year Magnet grant, the construction of our new playground is the cherry on top,” he said. “We will all be waiting with baited breath for when it’s completed and students get to play in the playground for the first time.”