City Councilman Costa Constantinides went back to his old school to helped break ground on a new, student-designed playground at PS 84Q, located at 22-45 41st St., in Astoria.
The playground will be built through The Trust for Public Land’s New York City Playgrounds Program and will include a running track, turf field, two play equipment areas, basketball hoops, game tables, benches and green infrastructure elements including permeable pavers and specifically chosen plantings and trees.
“As a PS 84 alumni and a neighbor who grew up just across the street from this school, I have many fond memories of this outdoor space, from throwing a football to chasing baseball into the street, this schoolyard was a place of happiness and I’m incredibly proud to have helped make the investment to transform this concrete lot into a vibrant green open space that will better serve PS 84 and the larger northern Astoria community,” Constantinides said. “The new schoolyard will add many new play elements like an amphitheater, a turf field, and even an outdoor classroom. Even better, green infrastructure elements are incorporated into the design which will make this play space more sustainable. I’m excited to see this project get started and look forward to its completion.”
Since 1996, working with the city, The Trust for Public Land has designed and/or built more than 200 school and community playgrounds across the five boroughs, benefiting more than 4 million New Yorkers who live within a 10-minute walk of one of these sites. The $1.5 million PS 84 playground will bring nearly 18,000 residents within a ten-minute walk of a park when it opens in the fall of 2020.
“This new playground will transform a former barren asphalt lot into a vibrant green space,” New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land Carter Strickland said. “Parks have the power to bring everyone together in a publicly accessible space where they can have fun on the play equipment or toss a ball run around the track, hang out with old friends and meet new neighbors. Furthermore, parks’ trees, gardens, and other green infrastructure makes our communities stronger and more climate-resilient.”
The green infrastructure design elements, made possible in part through a partnership with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, is a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. The features help to improve the city’s resistance to major storms by reducing stormwater runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing untreated water to end up in rivers and bays.
“DEP is proud to partner with The Trust for Public Land and the entire PS 84Q community as they design their new, environmentally-friendly school playground,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “The green infrastructure elements to be built into this new play space will absorb more than 530,000 gallons of stormwater annually and improve the health of the nearby East River.”
The playground design was led by students, helping them gain valuable knowledge and life skills like budgeting, negotiations, and planning. In addition to being a fun, recreational space, the playground will function as an outdoor classroom for students to explore nature, learn about environmental science and take part in physical education and after-school activities.
“The student-designed and environmentally-friendly playground will be a first-class, state-of-the-art recreational resource for Astoria,” Katz said. “The construction of this playground represents a significant investment in Astoria and will better enable both schoolchildren and local residents to enjoy the outdoors and be physically active. It was a privilege to work with the de Blasio administration, Councilmember Constantinides and The Trust for Public Land to make today’s groundbreaking possible.”