Electeds, students launch I.S. 339’s playground renovations

Electeds, students launch I.S. 339’s playground renovations
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz (fourth from right) and State Assemblyman Michael Blake (third from right) break ground at I.S. 339 with members of New York City Road Runners and The Trust For Public Land marking the renovation of the new playground to be completed by June 2020.
Photo by Carlotta Mohamed

Come June 2020, students at I.S. 339 will celebrate the completion of their brand new playground.

On Monday, October 28, Borough President Ruben Diaz, jr., Assemblyman Michael Blake, and members of New York Road Runners in partnership with The Trust for Public Land marked the beginning of the $1.5 million project with a groundbreaking ceremony at the playground located at 1600 Webster Avenue.

Public funding for the park was provided by Diaz and Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson.

Diaz noted the importance of parks in providing easy public access to green spaces for exercise, and improving individuals’ health and wellbeing.

“There’s a run of success of maximizing spaces like this, but doing it in a way where there’s complete input by the student body as well,” Diaz said. “They turn pieces of land that were meant to make sure you have great fond memories, participate in sports, make sure that you stay healthy and transform them into an oasis that is second to none — either here throughout the city of New York or any other place in the country.”

Designed by students, staff, parents and community members, the playground will include features such as a track, turf fields, a basketball court, outdoor classroom, games tales, water fountain, benches and trees.

“Our new school yard will become a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy,” said 8th grade student designer, Saiyrah.

Blake, said, “This is what we need in the Bronx. We need more opportunities so you can see what can be possible, and this is just the next step on realizing those dreams.”

The new playground is part of The Trust for Public Land’s NYC Playgrounds Program, which involves students in a participatory design process in order to build green community resources.

The I.S. 339 playground will be the eighth playground constructed in the five boroughs by The Trust for Public Land in partnership with New York Road Runners.

“We’re so happy to be able to partner with Trust for Public Land because they’re able to do this quickly,” said Rachel Pratt, senior vice president of Youth and Community Services, New York Road Runners. “They build playgrounds that are fun and last a long time. Every new playground they add just brings joy to that community.”

The special event also kicked off NYC Marathon Week, where students ran through the park ground with members from the New York Road Runners Team for Kids program, which raises funds for the Rising New York Road Runners youth program, that brings free running and fitness programs to students across the country.

Additionally, the playground is being created through a partnership with the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection and the NYC School Construction Authority.

I.S. 339 principal Kim Outerbridge said the new playground will transform the school for students.

“We have a lot of work to do but this is thankfully something that we’re going to be able to recognize for a very long time because this yard will not only be open to our students here in the building, but also to the entire community,” Outerbridge said.

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