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Mayor Bloomberg Launches "Schoolyards to Playgrounds" Initiative

A central goal of Mayor Blumberg's "PlayNYC" agenda is a park or playground within a 10-minute walk for every New York City resident. An initiative to open school playgrounds to the public has already begun. This "residents-only" playground (pictured) is just one reason for such a program.

Hundreds of school playgrounds containing dozens of high-quality competition fields and acres of open space exist in every borough of New York City, but are often used only a few hours a day during schools hours.

On July 2, 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the first phase of the "Schoolyards to Playgrounds" initiative, which identifies schoolyards in neighborhoods most in need of open space and opens them for public use after school hours and on weekends year round. The program has already opened 69 school playgrounds citywide to serve about 100,000 children. The planning and design of the remaining 221 schoolyards has begun. These renovations will include new tracks and fields, fencing, play equipment, defined play areas, greenery, trees, landscaping and gardens. This is a $111 million investment from the Bloomberg administration to improve schoolyards.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), through its "Parks for People" program, is collaborating with the city. TPL works in cities across the U.S. to ensure children have nearby access to parks, playgrounds or natural areas. TPL will raise money and develop 30 schoolyards into model community parks through a child-led design process and extensive community partnerships. Another 161 sites will receive participatory design oversight by TPL for the construction of new playgrounds.

The overall PlaNYC plan will not be fully realized until 2030. It is a $1.2 billion investment in the city's parks and open spaces involving construction of eight regional parks and recreational facilities; rehabilitating many existing park facilities; completing bike lanes; lighting ball fields; expanding greenways; and opening the waterfront to the public in every corner of the city.

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October 20, 2019, 6:06 pm PDT

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