Kids, community help create dream playground in Sunnyside


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com |

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Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joins students from P.S. 199 to commence his Noonan Park Community Design Initiative.

The dream of every child is to allow his imagination to run wild while creating his own unique playground.

The students of P.S. 199 are having their dreams come true.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer visited the school, located at 39-20 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, on October 3 to commence his Noonan Park Community Design Initiative. The councilmember has currently secured $600,000 to revitalize the park, which is used by many students from P.S. 199.

In order to truly harmonize the remodeled playground with the neighborhood, Van Bramer is requesting input from all the people who call Sunnyside home.

Beginning October 3 and ending on October 31, suggestion boxes will be present in the Sunnyside Library and at Van Bramer’s district office, providing community members the opportunity to contribute their unique ideas to the design of the playground. Suggestions can also be made by calling the councilmember’s office or emailing jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov.

“The community deserves to have a voice in how their playground looks,” said Van Bramer, who is the first elected official to ask the neighborhood’s residents for their opinions regarding the design of a public space. “The children in the community have wonderful imaginations, and exercising their ideas artistically is a great way to express their vision.”

At the kick-off event, children shared their ideas by submitting drawings and essays depicting their visions of what the playground should look like. The proposal to improve Noonan was originally presented to the councilmember by fourth graders at P.S. 199’s career day last year.

According to Anthony Inzerillo, principal of P.S. 199, the most popular student suggestions are additional swings, lower basketball hoops to allow younger children to play, new playground equipment and an increase in the number of water sprinklers.

Some children also requested tributes to Thomas P. Noonan Jr., the park’s namesake and a United States Marine who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism he displayed while serving during the Vietnam War.

“The renovations to the playground are a welcome addition to the community, and I am grateful that Councilmember Van Bramer requested our students’ input into the design,” said Inzerillo. “I am so proud of the students, because they preserved the memory of Thomas Noonan, and not only did they incorporate their own ideas, but they spoke to neighbors, friends and other people and they incorporated their input into the design as well. The nice thing is that they are going to have ownership over the park. I think they will take much better care of it and respect it, because they had input into the design. They will have a sense of pride.”