By Gina Martinez
Flushing residents will be able to enjoy a new environmentally friendly playground designed by IS 250 students in the fall.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, New York State Director Carter Strickland of the The Trust for Public Land and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza, joined IS 250 Principal Tara Mrwik and students to break ground on the construction of a new green playground Monday that will serve the school and surrounding community.
BP Katz announced that the $1.2 million playground, located at 158-40 76th Road, will serve over 17,000 residents within a 10-minute walk of a park and will include a running track, turf field, basketball practice hoops, tennis courts, trees, outdoor classroom space, game tables, and new fitness equipment.
The green infrastructure will also capture 1.2 million gallons of stormwater every year and improve the health of Flushing Creek.
Katz called the playground a significant investment in the future of Flushing.
“This student-designed and environmentally friendly playground will be a critically important recreational resource that will help our children be physically active,” she said.
The IS 250 playground is funded through the Queens Borough President’s Office, Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest), the Department of Environmental Protection, and supporters of The Trust for Public Land.
All The Trust for Public Land playgrounds include student participation in the design process, where the students are provided with hands-on learning of the science, math and architecture that goes into designing playgrounds and a chance to voice their thoughts on what their school’s playground needs. All 398 students at IS 250, as well as parents and neighbors, contributed to the playground design.
Lancman thanked the students for their participation.
“Today is a special day for our community as construction gets underway for the new playground at 250Q,” he said at the groundbreaking. “This playground will be built with input and insight from those who know playgrounds best — the students at 250. I am proud to provide funding to help make this new playground a reality, and look forward to seeing the playground when it is completed.”
DEP’s partnership with the Trust for Public Land and the DOE has produced more than a dozen playgrounds throughout the city. The green infrastructure design elements are a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. DEP said the playgrounds’ design features help reduce stormwater runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems and allow for 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. Similar playgrounds are also being designed in the Bronx River and Flushing Bay watersheds, according to DEP.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart