Help Redesign NYC Playgrounds at Parks Department Community Meetings

Like most NYC parents with young kids, I've logged so many hours at our local parks and playgrounds, I feel like I've become an expert on which design elements work, and which totally fail. If you've always wanted to share your playground opinions, now's the time because the Parks Department is listening. Thanks to its Community Parks Initiative, $130 million will be used to redesign and rebuild 35 debilitated NYC green spaces. But before the renovations begin, the Parks Department is holding a series of Community Input Meetings where families can offer their ideas and hopes for these parks.

The Community Parks Initiative will revamp 35 green spaces in underserved neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. You can see the complete list of parks on the website. Community Input Meetings began late last year and continue through the end of January. Meetings are held at community centers near each park. You can find the upcoming meeting schedule on the website, where you can also register to attend. If for whatever reason you can't make it to a meeting in person, each one is followed by an online comment period.

If you do go to a meeting, expect a highly interactive experience. Usually, it opens with a description of the park's current condition, after which participants break up into small groups to brainstorm and draw their ideas directly onto a site plan. These meetings aren't just for adults either. Children are welcome to give their input, too. After all, they're the ones who will benefit most. Also, keep in mind that the Community Parks Initiative includes funding toward park maintenance and cultural programs. Nonprofit org Partnerships for Parks plans to work with community members to form friends groups for each of the green spaces, so this is a great time to step up and get involved for the long haul.

While the meetings wrap up later this month, the groundbreaking on all 35 projects (which will happen simultaneously) won't take place until 2016. In the meantime, check out our Parks & Playground Guide to find cool places to romp around.