Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of the new student-designed community playground behind the school at 1224 Park Place in Crown Heights.
Currently, the school space occupies three separate schools including M.S. 354 The School of Integrated Learning, KIPP AMP Academy Middle School, and KIPP AMP Elementary Schools.
The $2 million playground is part of Cuomo‘s “Vital Brooklyn” initiative, a community development program bringing necessary resources to underserved neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn, and will provide 32,825 Crown Heights residents with green space within a 10-minute walk from home.
In total, Cuomo has allocated $1.4 billion for the Vital Brooklyn initiative, which seeks to transform the Central Brooklyn region by identifying and investing in eight integrated areas that will help to establish a national paradigm for addressing chronic disparities, such as systemic violence and entrenched poverty in high-need communities.
Neighborhoods on the catchment area of the Vital Brooklyn initiative include Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, East New York, East Flatbush, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Cypress Hills/Ocean Hill, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
“Through the Vital Brooklyn initiative, we have made important strides in improving access to green space and helping reverse the chronic social, economic and health disparities in Central Brooklyn,” said Cuomo. “Playgrounds are a critical component of this comprehensive effort, as they draw young families to parks and green space, and inspire children to enjoy outdoor recreation throughout their lives.”
The M.S. 354 & KIPP AMP Academy Middle and Elementary Schools playground is made possible through a partnership with New York State Parks, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Barclays Center.
A number of Central Brooklyn electeds were also on hand and/or commented about Vital Brooklyn initiative and the playground opening.
“Parks are the center point of our communities, bringing together families and allowing residents from around the neighborhood to enjoy green space. I am so pleased to see yet another new playground open in Brooklyn as part of the Governor’s “Vital Brooklyn” initiative,” said State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery. “The students of M.S. 354 and KIPP AMP, and the community have worked tirelessly to bring this project to life, and applaud all those who had a hand in making this terrific playground possible.”
Assembly Member Tremaine Wright said the playground was another victory for Central Brooklyn.
“Our youth and the M.S. 354 and KIPP AMP Academy Middle and Elementary Schools’ community will have a playground that they not only get to call their own but also have pride in designing. Thank you to the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority, the Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center, the New York State Parks and Governor Cuomo for your collective leadership and commitment to schools, wellness and community-based economic development in Central Brooklyn,” said Wright.”
City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. said access to open and green space is a critical component to promoting the health and well-being of any community.
“This new playground will benefit not only the youngsters who got to be involved in its design and those who will use it daily, but the Crown Heights community as a whole. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to Central Brooklyn communities and look forward to continuing to support the full implementation of the ‘Vital Brooklyn’ initiative in the weeks and months ahead,” said Cornegy.
In addition to serving students, all playgrounds in New York City are open to the public on weekends, after school and during school breaks, providing opportunities for both children and adults to be physically active. The program has added more than 160 acres of additional playground space serving the nearly 4 million people who live within a 10-minute walk of one of the sites.