Around Town: Lafayette Street School in Newark to get a playground

Barry Carter | The Star-Ledger | Email the author | Follow on Twitter

The Lafayette Street School playground in Newark is finally going to get the work it needs.

The Trust For Public Land and Newark Public Schools recently announced a campaign to raise $250,000 to create a new playground for the students and the larger community in the Ironbound.

“The Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People Program has a long history of working with community partners to develop safe, inviting, learning-rich schoolyards throughout Newark,” said said Scott Dvorak, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People-Newark Program.

“We now have an opportunity to bring our community-driven design and development process to the Ironbound neighborhood in Newark’s East Ward.”

Right now, the playground has deteriorating black top with a few basketball hoops. It’s better than nothing, but the kids didn’t even have that a few years ago when teachers parked their cars on the playground. The effort driving this renovation began when parents complained about their children not having a place to play.

“When something beautiful gets done on behalf of a neighborhood on behalf of children, it’s really a moment to celebrate,” said Newark’s Superintendent of Schools Christopher Cerf. “If students don’t have a place to play and jump and yell, it’s so much harder to achieve academic objectives.”

The playground campaign has raised $85,000. When it’s completed, East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador says the playground will give the Ironbound community a strong presence for having green space.

The Trust For Public Land, which creates parks and open space in cities, has developed 12 parks and schoolyards in Newark since 1995. In January, it will begin the design process with students at Lafayette Street School.

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