Playgrounds For All

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As it gets hotter and hotter (well, theoretically), everybody has parks and playgrounds on the brain. First, we learned that 69 public-school playgrounds around the city will [open to the public] for the summer starting July 1. And now Out2Play, a nonprofit group devoted to building playgrounds at NYC public schools, will open [four new ones](, including P.S. 156 and P.S. 55 on June 20, and P.S. 35 on June 21 and P.S. 97 on June 22.

But for every carefree childhood romp on the jungle gym, there’s a nasty argument between parents. It seems not everyone is thrilled at the prospect that the Randall's Island playing fields be handed over to a group of private schools for exclusive use. In fact, public school Moms and Dads are amongst opponents suing to stop the deal, claiming it illegally [bypasses the public review process].

From [NY1]: “Under the terms of the contract, the city will renovate the fields for $70 million. Twenty private schools will then pay about $2.2 million a year for the next 20 years for the up-keep of the fields. In return, they'll get to use two-thirds of the new space. The rest will go to the public schools and community organizations.”

The plan was approved by the city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee in February, but plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed yesterday say the city didn’t follow proper procedure before signing off on the deal. Talk about your playground bullies.

Photo courtesy of [stevegatto2 on Flickr]

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