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East Flatbush Students Get New Playground as Part of Cuomo's Vital Brooklyn Initiative

The schoolyard-turned-playground was designed with the students' input and is the first of eight to open in Central Brooklyn.
Kathy Hochhul, Student-Designed Playground, BK Reader
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A new student-designed community playground opened Monday on the Winthrop School campus in East Flatbush, the first of eight schoolyards to be transformed into playgrounds under the Governor Cuomo's Vital Brooklyn initiative.

The new playground is part of The Trust for Public Land's Playgrounds Program, an initiative that creates educational and fun playgrounds for NYC's schoolchildren and was designed with the input of the students at The Winthrop Campus, as well as parents and neighbors.

The former schoolyard-turned-playground features new play equipment, a multi-purpose field with running track, a full basketball court, gardens and planted areas, as well as shade trees and benches.

"Our Vital Brooklyn initiative is focused on creating transformational change that will improve the health and wellness of the people of Central Brooklyn," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul who unveiled the playground. "A central part of this effort is providing children with access to modern and safe spaces to play. This investment to improve playgrounds and recreational spaces across Central Brooklyn will ensure a better quality of life for this vibrant community."

The following seven Brooklyn schoolyards are slated for transformation into playgrounds and are planned to be completed by 2020:

  • PS 213 The New Lots School, 580 Hegeman Avenue - Opening Fall 2018
  • PS 145, 100 Noll St. - Opening Summer 2019
  • PS 156 /IS 392, 104 Sutter Avenue - Opening Summer 2019
  • MS 354 KIPP Academy, 1224 Park Place - Opening Fall 2019
  • PS/MS 377 Alejandrina B De Gautier, 200 Woodbine St. - Opening Summer 2020
  • PS 152/315 Midwood HS,  725 E 23rd St. - Opening Summer 2020
  • PS 115 Daniel Mucatel School, 1500 East 92nd St. - Opening Summer 2020

The state is allocating $10.6 million for the program.

"Governor Cuomo's Vital Brooklyn initiative has placed an emphasis on our community's health and wellness the likes of which we've never seen," said City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel. "Between providing greater access to healthy food, 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."

The Vital Brooklyn initiative seeks to transform the Central Brooklyn region by investing in eight integrated areas to address chronic disparities such as systemic violence and entrenched poverty in high-need communities. The comprehensive plan aims to increase access to open spaces and recreation which includes the recently announced Shirley Chisholm state park, as well as a $3.1 million commitment to transform nearly two dozen community gardens and a $1.8 million boost to enhance recreation centers.