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New playgrounds planned for PS 88, 182, 224 and 877: Marshall

Upgrades are in the works for four Queens school playgrounds to help fight the growing problem of childhood obesity, Borough President Helen Marshall announced last week.

Out2Play, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing new playgrounds to inner−city neighborhoods, will begin construction on new play areas at PS 88 in Ridgewood, PS 182 in Jamaica, PS 224 in Bellerose and PS 877 in Elmhurst, according to the borough president. Marshall’s office, along with other public and private donations, helped fund the project.

“Recreational programs provide constructive opportunities for our youth to grow in body and spirit,” she said in a statement released last Thursday. “That’s why I am happy to team up with Out2Play in its efforts to provide safe and open places for youngsters to play.”

The construction will take about six months and, when completed, the students will have new monkey bars, basketball courts, soccer fields and track fields. The playgrounds will also include new chess tables, hopscotch courts and benches.

Andrea Wenner the executive director of Out2Play, which gets its funding from donations from organizations such as New York Community Trust, said the playgrounds are essential to help children build healthy lifestyles.

A study released in this month’s Archives of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine found that one in every five American 4−year−olds is medically obese.

“With childhood obesity continuing to affect almost half of New York City schoolchildren, this is an ongoing struggle that none of us can afford to lose,” Wenner the said in a statement.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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