Public-Private Partnership Yields $75,000 to Renovate P.S. 226 Playground, M.S. 390 Facilities and Fund Boys and Girls Club “Triple Play” After School Program

BRONX, NEW YORK – Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Coca-Cola, and representatives of the NYC Department of Education and the Fund for Public Schools today were joined by Council Member Fernando Cabrera, New York Knicks players Toney Douglas and Roger Mason, Jr., State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Jose Serrano as well as parents, faculty and students to celebrate the official re-opening of the school playground at Bronx P.S. 226. For eight years, the recreation space was padlocked because of safety concerns, leaving neighborhood children without a secure place to play.

The playground renovations are the result of a public-private partnership between Speaker Quinn and Coca-Cola, which yielded $75,000 to refurbish two neighboring school playgrounds and also expand the Boys and Girls Club “Triple Play” after school program to reach more young people within the community. The partnership between Speaker Quinn, Coca-Cola and the DOE came after three young men were attacked and beaten during a horrific hate crime that occurred across the street from P.S. 226 last fall.

“These wonderful and much-needed improvements teach us that if we work together, we can always find opportunity in times of adversity and tragedy,” said Speaker Quinn. “Thank you to Coca-Cola for being a true partner in bringing change to our communities and literally changing the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren.”

“We’re proud to lend our support to the restoration of local parks and playgrounds like this one, and continue our sponsorship of valuable programs like Triple Play at Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club that make such a positive difference in our communities,” said Sam Campanello, Vice President, Field Operations at Coca-Cola. “We’re especially pleased to have the chance to partner with the NYC Council public-private partnership to provide refurbished recreational facilities and after school programs that will help the students of P.S. 226 and M.S. 390 and all of the young people in the community to lead more active healthy lifestyles.”

Improvements and programs made possible by Coca-Cola include:

• P.S. 226 Site Improvements and Renovations
o Improved and updated safety padding for playground walls
o Mural painted by P.S. 226 art teacher, school staff, parents, and students
o Planting of playground flower and vegetable garden complete with rainwater collection barrels (made from recycled Coca-Cola syrup drums)

• M.S. 390 Site Improvements and Renovations
o Replacement of damaged playground safety surfacing
o Installation of new benches and trees
o Repainting of basketball court and other blacktop games and support for a supervised after school
basketball program.

• Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club “Triple Play” after school programming for neighborhood children

“I am grateful for the public-private partnership being displayed here today between Coca-Cola, MS 390, P.S. 226, and Boys and Girls Club, said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. It’s always good to see corporations recognize the corporate responsibility of giving back to worthy causes and I congratulate Coca-Cola for investing in the future of our community, our children.”

“Hate crimes can make a community feel powerless and make restoring safety challenging. The key to restoring both power and safety to the community is services, said Council Member Helen D. Foster. “Services such as youth programs that teach mediation tools where problem solving without violence can be learned. I applaud Coca-Cola for recognizing this and providing funds to make sure these programs occur.”

“This newly refurbished recreation space is a real boost to this community, and I thank both City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the good people at Coca-Cola for making these projects a reality. From out of one of our worst moments we were able to bring about positive change to the northwest Bronx, and for that all Bronxites should be grateful,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“I applaud Council Speaker Christine Quinn for seeking out a success public-private partnership that was able to make the reopening of the P.S. 226 playground a reality,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “With needed improvements to their recreation space and funding to expand the Boys and Girls Club “Triple Play” after school program, more of the children of the 33rd Senate District will be able to participate in programs that make a positive difference in their lives and give them the necessary tools to help turn away from violence and other negative influences.”
“Our community must continue to make a concerted effort to eliminate the violence plaguing our neighborhoods, and to provide our youth with the support they need to succeed,” said Senator Jose Serrano. “To get at the root of violent crime we must provide our children with safe alternatives to the streets. I appreciate the generosity of Coca-Cola in helping to improve our community, and would like to thank Speaker Quinn for bringing us all together to inspire our neighborhoods and send a positive message to our youth.”

“The M.S. 390 community is extremely grateful for the generosity of the City Council and Coca-Cola, in support of the social and physical development of the children of our community, said Robert W. Mercedes, Principal, MS390. Words cannot describe the appreciation that our students at Middle School 390 have expressed for having their playground and basketball court refurbished. Not only does it come in time for them to enjoy these spaces over the summer, but most importantly this partnership has created a “safe haven” away from home where students can exercise and socialize during and after school.”

“A terrible event took place across the street from our school. It seemed that our children lost some of their innocence during this time. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of so many people, our children have gained what was lost. Instead of fear, our children are filled with excitement, wonderment and anticipation. We now have a safe playground, a beautiful vegetable garden, and a mural which reflects the joy of our students. I thank everyone involved with this wonderful project, said Gloria Darden, Principal PS226.”

“On behalf of the trustees of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club and the over 12,000 children we serve I’d like to thank Speaker Quinn and the Coca-Cola Corporation for recognizing the importance of engaging our young people and keeping them active for the purpose of enhancing their minds, their bodies and instilling the importance of living healthy lifestyles, said Daniel Quintero, Executive Director, Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.”

“Support for these programs helps to move us toward our common vision, which increases safety for all our communities. By providing this valuable support and addressing violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and HIV-affected communities, we help to create a culture of respect,” said Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

Following Speaker Quinn’s visit to the Bronx neighborhood to condemn the violent attack, P.S. 226 Principal Gloria Darden contacted her about reopening the school’s playground, which had been locked due to inadequate padding on the playground walls.

Determined to reopen the playground, Speaker Quinn reached out to representatives from Coca-Cola to forge a public-private partnership to make necessary improvements to that space and nearby middle school improvements and neighborhood after school programming. In total, Coca-Cola provided $75,000 in funding.