This month, New York City students made the Bronx a little greener by installing 2,000 square feet of green roof atop the St. Mary’s Recreation Center in the South Bronx. As the very first class of Youth Sustainability Corps (YSC), these 30 local high school and college students, under the tutelage of NYC Parks green infrastructure experts, planned new green roof systems which will be installed on 50,000 square feet of Parks’ facility rooftops over the coming months. The roof at St. Mary’s – which the students installed themselves – is the first of six sites that will be built out. YSC students also installed new stormwater control measures on the roof at St. Mary’s, and built new raised planting beds, which will grow seasonal vegetables this year.
“On day one on the Youth Sustainability Corps internship, many of the students had never even seen a green roof before, but today they can look out over 2,000 sqft of new sustainable infrastructure that they planned and built by hand,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “As Parks has been a leader in green roofs and workforce development in New York City, we’re proud to leverage our expertise in both to teach the next generation, and give them a head start on a future in green careers.”
Launched in December 2021, NYC Parks partnered with DYCD, the Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment, and the City Cleanup Corps to develop the very first Youth Sustainability Corps, a specialized Parks green job internship program within DYCD’s Work Learn Grow program where students gain work readiness, explore careers in the green economy, and receive targeted employment training and skills development with a focus on environmental justice and the city’s overall recovery.
Parks’ YSC students worked 75 hours on weekends and school breaks through March 5, 2022, getting technical training from NYC Parks’ experts on sustainable facilities to plan out the innovative green roof infrastructure. They will get hands-on experience in the full scope of green roof installation, and learn about systemic environmental challenges and a broad range of sustainable solutions NYC Parks is piloting. These program components, combined and funded through the City Cleanup Corps economic recovery program, served young people with 225 hours of program, for a total earnings of $3,375 per student.
In tandem with the launch of YSC, Parks committed to expand green roofs on Parks-owned buildings by 50,000 square feet – bringing the agency’s total to 250,000 square feet. At a cost of only $14 per square foot, Parks’ green roofs are an economical feature that result in cost savings over time. The estimated cost of installing this additional 50,000 square feet is only $500,000 and will provide projected savings of approximately $8.65 million to the city.
Beginning April 2022, the new green roofs will be built at the following locations:
- Brooklyn: Prospect Park Garage (12,500 square feet)
- Bronx: Kwame Ture Recreation Center (4,500 square feet)
- Manhattan: Sheltering Arms Pool House (5,500 square feet)
- Queens: Rockaway Beach 17 Street Operations Building (6,500 square feet)
- Staten Island: Midland Beach Playground Comfort Station (2,500 square feet)