September 20, 2019
"This new student-designed community playground in Brooklyn is just the latest example of our successful efforts to improve the health and well-being of Central Brooklyn residents," Governor Cuomo said. "This new playground keeps the momentum going and will provide green space and new outdoor recreational opportunities for over 30,500 Brooklynites to enjoy for decades to come."
"The Vital Brooklyn Initiative is focused on improving quality of life and transforming Brooklyn for the future," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Children and families should be able to enjoy modern, safe, and accessible playgrounds, and that is why they are a central part of our efforts to improve neighborhoods in Brooklyn. This project continues our efforts to invest in projects that grow the economy and increase recreational opportunities for New Yorkers."
The Vital Brooklyn Initiative is transforming eight asphalt schoolyards into playgrounds designed by local students with new equipment, multi-purpose fields, grass, trees and in some cases, green infrastructure that will lessen the harmful impact of heavy rains on the city's stressed combined sewer system.
In addition to the $10.6 million effort to enhance playgrounds, Vital Brooklyn has renovated 21 of 22 designated community gardens and improved three of four designated recreation centers in Central Brooklyn.
The four playgrounds already opened are located at P.S. 145, 100 Noll St.; P.S. 213/The New Lots School, 560 Hegeman Ave.; NS 354/KIPP Academy Middle and Elementary Schools at 1224 Park Place; and Winthrop School Campus, 905 Winthrop St. A groundbreaking was held this week for another new playground at P.S. 152/315 at 725 East 23rd St.
Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, "Governor Cuomo understands that great parks help build stronger communities. Here at State Parks, we want every Brooklyn resident to be near a great community playground."
Senator Zellnor Myrie said, "Every child deserves safe places to play and exercise outside, yet too many of the poorest neighborhoods lack these spaces. I'm so happy that the youth in this area will get to enjoy this beautiful new space with their families."
Assembly Member Latrice Walker said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for keeping his word and commitment to reinvest in the Central Brooklyn parks and infrastructure. Our youth deserve a safe, clean, nice place to play. Playgrounds encourage children to build social skills. What makes this even more impactful is the inclusion our students voice in the decision-making process. Last year, the students at PS156 and IS392 invited me to review their architectural plan for their new and improved playground, which included lots of green space to also improve our environment. I am proud to witness their hard work and vision come to fruition "
New York City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel said, "Governor Cuomo's Vital Brooklyn initiative has placed an emphasis on our community's health and wellness in a way we've never seen. Increasing the availability of healthcare, and bringing parks to neighborhoods across the borough, this program continues to show great promise by supporting residents who have long felt forgotten. With a high need for safe and educational outdoor activities in our schools, I commend the Governor's ongoing commitment to the young people in our community and providing our families with the care and attention they deserve."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said, "On behalf of the children and families of the PS 156 Waverly community, I am grateful for the brand-new playground will enhance neighborhood recreation in my native Brownsville. Parks are the great equalizer, and this investment is creating vitally important greenspace for Central Brooklyn that is critical to achieving true health equity."
The playground projects are also supported by the not-for-profit Trust for Public Land, which help coordinate additional funding from city Department of Environmental Protection and from private philanthropy.
New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land Carter Strickland said, "Great playgrounds help make great neighborhoods. This new playground will be an asset for Brownsville: bringing the community together, providing opportunities for healthy recreation, and cooling the neighborhood on hot days. Now, 30,000 more New Yorkers will now have a new park within 10 minutes of where they live. We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor's Vital Brooklyn initiative to bring more quality playgrounds to New Yorkers."
Launched in 2017, Governor Cuomo's Vital Brooklyn effort targets some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York State, including Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, East New York, East Flatbush, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Cypress Hills/Ocean Hill and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Focusing on these Central Brooklyn communities, the initiative addresses a critical need for green space in a city where 73 percent of low-income neighborhoods fail to meet the city's standard of 2.5 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents.
Vital Brooklyn also supports Governor Cuomo's "Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly NY" Executive Order, which directs state agencies to incorporate the principles of age- and health-friendly communities into all relevant programs and policies. The effort supports access to healthy food and safe and clean outdoor public space and expands opportunities for outdoor recreation.
With a total budget of $1.4 billion, the Vital Brooklyn initiative seeks to transform Central Brooklyn by identifying and investing in eight integrated areas that will help establish a national paradigm for addressing chronic disparities, such as systemic violence and entrenched poverty in high-need communities.
The comprehensive plan targets increased access to open spaces and recreation, which includes the opening in July 2019 of the new 407-acre Shirley Chisholm State Park, named in honor of the Brooklyn-born trailblazer who was the nation's first African American congresswoman, as well as the first African American woman to run for President.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
State Parks oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches, and more, which were visited by a record 74 million people last year. For more information about any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.