P.S. 9 and M.S. 571 celebrated the opening of its $305,000 playground yesterday with song, dance, poetry and even a visit from the NETS mascot, Sly.
The playground replaced an asphalt lot at 80 Underhill Ave. with just one partially broken piece of play equipment. Now there’s a basketball, tennis and handball courts, a track surrounding a multipurpose field, a drop shot, chess tables, benches, trees and hopscotch and other colorful games painted on the ground.
There is also a multil-level piece of play equipment that is fully ramped, making it accessible to special needs students.
Sandra D’Avilar, P.S. 9’s principal, said she’s wanted to get the barren playground replaced since she came to the school in 2004, but that for more than a decade before she got there, parents had been trying to get it improved.
“It was dull, it was ugly,” she said. “Now there are games to play. … You should see the children skipping on the way to school.”
Santosha Troutman, who heads M.S. 571, which shares the building, said even though her students are older, they really appreciate the change.
“When we come down to lunch they’re very excited to come out,” she said.
The revamped space was funded in part by Out2Play, a non-profit that raises funds to refurbish NYC public school playgrounds, the NYC Department of Education, Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, and the Barclays Nets Community Alliance, a partnership of Forest City Ratner, the NETS and Barclays that, since forming in 2007, has given area non-profits $1 million a year, according to a NETS news release.
At yesterday’s event (which was covered by a number of citywide news outlets including the New York Times and News 12) Kindergarten class B2 performed a traditional Dominican welcome dance, Kindergarten class B6 performed “Our New Playground, and middle school students Kemba Cooper and Jamal St. Rose recited original poems.
Then P.S. 9’s Christian Vega cut the ribbon, flanked by fellow students Nyah Caldwell and Charlotte Herz.
Local politicians including Councilwoman Letitia James and state Sen. Eric Adams also showed up to welcome the revamped play space.
The students sacrificed for the playground for much of last year; the yard was closed in sections beginning in about October, and for weeks at a time—about four months total—the children couldn’t use it at all. It re-opened this fall.
But the wait was worth it, said Faye Rimalovski, a P.S. 9 parent who helped organize yesterday’s ribbon cutting.
“The playground was just a bleak space," she said. "Now, after school we can actually say here and play."