An asphalt schoolyard at Flushing’s JHS 189 will soon become an environmentally friendly playground.
The playground will feature “green infrastructure” elements, such as specialized plantings, shade trees, porous pavement and permeable pavers that will allow it to manage up to 360,000 gallons of rainwater annually. During heavy storms, the rainwater can cause the city’s sewer systems to overflow, leaking untreated sewage into bays and rivers.
Additionally, students designed the specific elements of the playground in a participatory design process, during which they surveyed their peers for a class project to determine the playground’s most popular features. Students worked with architects to incorporate elements of the students’ wish list in the designs for the $1 million playground.
Alongside Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, officials from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Trust for Public Land broke ground on the new schoolyard development on Monday.
“This is the seventh playground we’re upgrading in Council District 20 and the second partnership we’ve made with Borough President Melinda Katz, the Trust for Public Land and DEP,” said Koo, who contributed $200,000 to the project.
Recently, the DEP has been trying to expand green infrastructure throughout the city to reduce pollution in waterways caused by excessive rainwater. In Flushing, pollution concerns abound near Flushing Creek.
“An added benefit is that the engineered green infrastructure elements incorporated into this state-of-the-art playground design will reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality of nearby Flushing Creek and clean the air,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.