Help Build Urban Oasis
used to be an unsightly garbage dump and rows of abandoned cars,
has now become a wonderfully verdant running track around the
new Claremont Community Park. The happy chirping of a playground
emits beautiful music these days at a place were four years ago,
ugly sounds of an illegal chop shop [dismantling of cars] were
heard. The transformation was all done for and by the children
of this South Bronx neighborhood.
The youthful playground planners from the adjacent CES 42—75 third,
fourth and fifth-graders—were intimately involved in the visualizing,
building and realization of this 6,660-square foot urban oasis.
In the beginning there was a lot of cleaning up to do. The school’s
students and teachers started by tending a small garden in place
of the hulking heaps of junk.
the kids surveyed, evaluated, and designed the space for the playground,”
said teacher Ivette Matos. “They even checked for drainage problems.
Then they worked closely with the landscape architects and took
the finished design to the PTA for approval all by themselves.”
In time the project became a vital part of the school curriculum.
learned to use my math skills, like area and perimeter, in real-life
situations,” said fourth-grader Nadia De Leon. And some even more
essential lessons may have been learned as well.
you work together, you can do a lot of things,” said ten year-old
DeSean Hooper at the official opening of the park. “We made this.”
The park, a $280,000 investment, was built in partnership with
the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Trust
for Public Lands (TPL), a national non-profit organization working
to conserve land all over the US and to build active living spaces
in urban communities.
park, the 11th we’ve helped build in the past five years, is a
result of a wonderful pooling of public and private resources,”
said Rose Harvey, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of TPL. “By
engaging the vision and talents of the neighborhood residents
and the students, we were able to create a public space that not
only serves, but reflects the community.”
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