Philadelphia – Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman and Councilmember Cherelle Parker announced the award of a $9.5 million grant to carry out major renovations to the Lawncrest Library and Recreation Center. The improvements coming to Lawncrest will include repairs to the beloved pool, investment in a computer lab in the library, and critical ADA compliance upgrades. Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, Rebuild is a signature initiative of Mayor Jim Kenney’s, committing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve parks, recreation centers, and libraries in neighborhoods across the City.
“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Philadelphia’s neighborhoods by investing in parks, recreation centers, and libraries,” said Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman. “The Lawncrest Recreation Center and Library are a social, athletic, and cultural hub of this community. We look forward to working alongside the community to plan improvements to the site that deliver a safe and welcoming place for residents to build skills, play sports, meet friends, and have fun.”
The Lawncrest site includes a 57-year-old recreation center in need of upgraded flooring, repairs to the outdoor pool, and a number of building infrastructure improvements. The library next door, also built in 1961, will receive a major investment in technology, building improvements, and efforts to modernize the space to meet today’s digital access needs. Additional improvements and upgrades at both the library and rec center will be agreed upon using feedback and input from residents and the community.
“Lawncrest is home to some of the most vibrant youth and older adult programs in the city,” said Councilmember Cherelle Parker. “Crescentville, Lawncrest, and Lawndale residents have been consistent contributors to the City’s tax base, and deserve safe, modern facilities. Thanks to Rebuild, the Lawncrest rec center and library will get the investment necessary to offer even more high quality resources and activities to the community.”
Community Ventures is one of 20 pre-qualified non-profit organizations approved to lead Rebuild projects. The first step in the $9.5 million project will be extensive resident engagement, which will begin this year and will provide community members a chance to share their hopes and aspirations for the multi-use site.
“Community Ventures applauds Mayor Kenney and Councilmember Parker for spearheading this important project at Lawncrest. This site is so special because it offers families so many enriching activities on a single City block. From after school programs at the library to summer swimming in the Lawncrest pool, the community relies on this space,” said David La Fontaine, Executive Director, Community Ventures. “We are honored to have the opportunity to build on the great work Lawncrest staff and volunteers do each day, and support the community to develop improvement plans that will deliver even more enjoyment and enrichment of Lawncrest library and recreation center in the future.”
“Lawncrest Library is one of the Free Library’s models for inclusive and high quality youth programming,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “But with a failing HVAC system and aging technology infrastructure, the library has been operating without the full resources needed to offer relevant, resident-focused enrichment programs. We look forward to modernizing Lawncrest and delivering the digital and community resources our customers require.”
“The Lawncrest pool is the go-to destination in this neighborhood, and we welcome the chance to make much needed improvements to the pool and rec center that will give more residents the accessible, high quality recreation experience they deserve,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “I can’t wait to see what improvement plans the community designs in collaboration with the team from Community Ventures.”
This spring Rebuild issued $38.5 million in similar grants to pre-qualified non-profit organizations to lead the transformation of the Cecil B. Moore, Olney, Vare, and Heitzman Recreation Centers, as well as the Glavin Playground. More grant awards will be announced in the coming months.
Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild seeks to improve pivotal community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion. Rebuild is a public private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and The Rosenbach, advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 31,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi, including neighborhood Hot Spots; and rich special collections, including those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach. With more than 5 million in-person visits and 5 million more online annually, the Free Library and The Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.
Community Ventures is a non-profit developer with a mission to work in partnership with neighborhood-based organizations to improve communities and to increase the supply of affordable housing. Community Ventures has long prioritized the improvement and development of green space as part of its community development efforts. In all of its work, Community Ventures strives to achieve the highest levels of environmental sustainability and to produce beautiful and high-quality neighborhoods. To date, Community Ventures has developed 440 units of affordable housing and over 9,000 sqft of commercial space. At every stage of design, construction and operations, Community Ventures aims to fulfill the goals of our community partners and bring the greatest possible improvement to the neighborhoods in which we work. To learn more about Community Ventures, visit us at www.community-ventures.org, and follow @CVbuilds on Facebook or @community_ventures on Instagram.