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'Disintegrating' Playground at Harlem School to Get Facelift

By Dartunorro Clark | November 1, 2016 6:10pm
 Rashi Herrera, 10, talks about the new design of the playground at P.S. 154 in Harlem.
Rashi Herrera, 10, talks about the new design of the playground at P.S. 154 in Harlem.
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DNAinfo/Dartunorro Clark

HARLEM — Fifth grader Rashi Herrera loves baseball, but he can't play at his Harlem school because the court in the crumbling playground is gashed with deep cracks.

He also can’t drink from the water fountain at P.S. 154 because often it doesn’t work. When it does "it gives dirty water,” the 10-year-old said.

But on Tuesday, students at the school got a chance to share ideas of what a new playground could look like.

The two basic playground sets and rusting basketball rims are set to be replaced. There will soon be game tables, a garden area, an outdoor classroom, lots of green space, a running track — and a new water fountain and basketball court.

The Land for Public Trust partnered with the New York Road Runners to give the playground a facelift.

“If you look around, this playground is not too great,” said Adrian Benepe, the trust’s senior vice president and head of city park development.

“It has cracks in it and no running track but, with this partnership, it’s going to change.”

This was the 190th playground the organization has helped renew.

The running organization gave $1 million to go into the Harlem schoolyard and several others in the Bronx and Queens.

“I cannot think of anything more inspiring than giving kids a place to run,” said Michael Capriaso, NYRR's president.

Local elected officials and city agencies are adding more money and resources to the pot for the construction, which is slated to begin in the spring.

Elizabeth Jarrett, the school’s principal, said the playground is "disintegrating" and the reconstruction has been a long time coming.

“It’s been the whole village pulling together to make things work,” she said.