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City Rips Out Corona School Playground to Make Room for Pre-K Trailers

By Katie Honan | September 8, 2016 4:00pm
 The three trailers at P.S. 28 are on the site of a school playground. 
The three trailers at P.S. 28 are on the site of a school playground. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

CORONA — The city ripped out the playground at a Corona elementary school to make way for a group of pre-K trailers weeks before the start of school — leaving students and parents stunned on their first day back.

"They ruined the playground," mom Rosuaa Fernandez said as her daughter, Luna Alessandra Batino Fernandez, 7, stared through the fence outside the school, on 48th Avenue near 111th Street.

Many parents and students said they first learned of the new trailers — and destroyed playground — as they lined up for the first day of school Thursday morning. 

"So where we going to go to do gym?" Jaylina Jimenez, 7, asked. "Now what happened to playtime?"

Her parents, Stephanie and Isaac, said they got no notice from the school that the playground was being removed. 

"I don't know what's going to happen" to the recess time, Stephanie Jimenez said. "Nobody expects they'll take away a playground."

Department of Education officials announced a few weeks ago that they were adding additional pre-K seats to schools in Corona and Elmhurst — including six pre-K classrooms they said they would house inside trailers at P.S. 28.

Officials said at the time that there would still be space for outdoor recess at the schools — and added that the trailers would be a temporary solution before a large pre-K center will be built at the New York Hall of Science.

DOE officials did not mention any plans to remove P.S. 28's playground to install the trailers.

A spokeswoman with the DOE said Thursday that the city is "working with the Parks Department to ensure students have access to outdoor play areas in adjacent parks," but did not say which park the school planned to use for recess.

Parents said they were concerned since the other closest playground, Corona Golf Playground on 47th Avenue and 111th Street, has been under renovation.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is across busy 111th Street, parents say, and they're concerned about how children will be transported safely.

Officials added that the trailers are a "short-term solution to address the need for seats in this area, and we are working on a long-term solution to support the needs of the community."

Construction on the trailers began within the last two weeks, records show. There are two permits on file for the trailer project, which was approved on Aug. 19.

There is also no permit for the demolition of the playground, which included ripping out its benches, slides, monkey bars and a group of trees.

"She's used to playgrounds," Victoria Almonte said of her daughter, Samantha, who was starting kindergarten.

"The best part of school for her was supposed to be recess."