The Trust for Public Land and New York Road Runners: Community Investment Initiative

As we continue to deliver on our mission to help and inspire people through running, we are so excited to continue our partnership with The Trust for Public Land, and pursue a common goal of making New York City better today, in order to promise a better tomorrow. Through this partnership, we are transforming New York City public school schoolyards into state-of-the-art, green, community playgrounds.

About TPL

The Trust for Public Land—which receives public funding from the Departments of Education and Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority, the City Council, and the Manhattan Borough President, the Queens Borough President, and the Bronx Borough President—has developed more than 200 playgrounds in New York City. In addition to serving students during the school day, all playgrounds in NYC are open to the public on weekends and after school, providing more opportunities for both children and adults to get out and be physically active.

How NYRR Stepped In

Since 2016, NYRR has contributed over $2 million to help fund the design and construction of playgrounds at five school campuses: CS 154M in Harlem, Manhattan; PS 120 in Flushing, Queens; the Piagentini and Jones Educational Complex, which houses three schools on a shared campus in the Throggs Neck neighborhood of the Bronx (PS 392, IS 467, and IS 371); PS 581 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn; MS 227 in East Elmhurst, Queens, PS 32 in Great Kills, Staten Island; and PS 377 in Bushwick, Brooklyn. And we’re just getting started.

Parks for Kids, Designed by Kids

Who can design a playground better than the children that enjoy them most? The new playspaces were created through a participatory design process led by students themselves. At each participating school, students survey their peers as part of a class project to learn the most popular playground features. Students then work with landscape architects to integrate their ideas into the final design. This unique process teaches many valuable skills, including environmental science, budgeting, and negotiation—and according to our budding designers, it’s also super fun!

Playground Proud: Capping off year one of our partnership, the students at CS 154M in Harlem, excitedly welcomed Olympic medalist and Rising New York Road Runners Ambassador & Special Advisor Jenny Simpson to their new playground during a special 2017 TCS New York City Marathon-week event.

Green and Evergreen

The transformed playgrounds include green infrastructure design elements, a hallmark of The Trust for Public Land’s playground work. Features, such as specialized plantings and porous pavement, will help reduce storm runoff that can flood streets and overwhelm sewer systems, allowing 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—something to be proud of.

There's More to Come

Our plan is to continue funding playground development across New York City’s five boroughs to provide students with opportunities to play outdoors on school grounds.

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