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Astoria parents call on officials to fix middle school’s yard

schoolSept. 23, 2014 By Michael Florio

The schoolyard at I.S. 126 is full of cracks and potholes —and students that go to the 31-51 21st Street school wanted it fixed.

The faculty, the YMCA and several parents have started a petition calling for repairs and have already gathered 350 signatures.

“The lot is full of cracks in the pavement, broken glass, and trash,” said Vanessa Cole, Afterschool Director at the YMCA.

She said that although four new basketball hoops were installed over the summer, the lot is still in need of repair. “The lines for the courts are uneven and the ground is not level,” she said.

Cole said the children seek benches, chess tables, a garden and a track. She added they would also like an area to play soccer, hopscotch and other games.

Cole said the school has pushed for changes in the past but this year there is more urgency.

At Community Board 1’s monthly meeting last week, more than 20 parents, students, and faculty members turned out to voice their concerns.

“I think the [board] meeting was successful,” Cole said afterward. “We are going to keep pushing until we get what the kids deserve.”

Cole said the group also plans to attend next month’s Community Board 1 meeting.

Several students have also written letters to Councilman Costa Constantinides seeking upgrades.

Constantinides said that he is working to make sure the schoolyard is repaired and admired the students’ persistence.

“I applaud the students of I.S. 126 for their advocacy in requesting renovations to their school playground,” Constantinides said in response.

“I have met with the school administration and agree that the space needs upgrades. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to see these upgrades happen and to ensure that students have a great place for recreation.”

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