BY WILLIAM HARRIS
Starting in the fall of 2018, about 17,000 residents of Flushing and Kew Gardens Hills will be within a 10-minute walk of the new student-designed playground.
Construction crews began this week breaking ground on the project in front of students, faculty, administrators and organizations responsible for its development.
The $1.2 million facility called the I.S 250 Playground will feature a running track, a turf field, basketball practice hoops, tennis courts, game tables, outside classroom space and new fitness equipment. It will also consist of a new green infrastructure that will capture about 1.2 million gallons of stormwater every year in order to improve the health of Flushing Creek. Twenty to 30 trees have also been planted and grown as well.
“Today’s groundbreaking is a significant investment in the future of Flushing, providing a new state-of-the-art playground for use by schoolchildren and the entire neighborhood,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
What makes the construction of this new playground even better is that all 398 students of I.S 250 school were were able to contribute to the design process, along with their parents and neighbors.
The groundbreaking and student involvement is part of The Trust For Public Land’s Playgrounds Program, which provides students with hands-on learning of science, math and architecture. Since 1996, the program, with the help of the city, has designed and/or built 194 school and community playgrounds throughout the five boroughs.
“The students and at I.S. 250 are making the city a better place, one playground at a time. Their work with The Trust For Public Land will create a beautiful, new green for the entire Flushing community to enjoy, and over 17,000 residents will be just a short 10-minute walk from a place where they can exercise, relax under trees, play games, have fun and connect with their neighbors,” said Carter Strickland, The Trust For Public Land’s New York state director.
The funding of the $1.2 million project is being provided through the Queens borough president’s office, NYC Councilman Rory Lancman, Department of Environmental Protection and Supporters of the Trust for Public Land.
“This student-designed and environmentally friendly playground will be a critically important recreational resource that will help our children be physically active. Council member Lancman, the New York City Department of Environmental protection and The Trust for Public Land deserve to be commended for supporting this effort to make this playground a reality,” Katz said.
The new I.S 250 Playground is scheduled to open sometime in the fall in 2018. It will be open to the public during after-school hours and school breaks.