PHILADELPHIA – Today Mayor Jim Kenney joined Council President Darrell L. Clarke to celebrate the opening of a renovated playground, basketball court, and outdoor community commons at the Fishtown Recreation Center. The ribbon cutting is a milestone for Rebuild, a signature initiative of Mayor Kenney’s made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries.
The Trust for Public Land began working with the community in 2016 to redesign the aging playground equipment and asphalt play space at the rec center. In March 2019 Rebuild supplemented committed funds from the Council President’s Office, The Trust for Public Land, and the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources to move the $1.1 million project forward.
The Fishtown Recreation Center marks the 14th completed project by The Trust for Public Land, who has been working to improve access to high quality parks for 160,000 Philadelphians since 2012.
“Today’s ribbon cutting is a reflection of the huge impact Rebuild projects are making at parks and rec centers across the City,” said Mayor Kenney. “The new playground here at Fishtown Rec will benefit thousands of Philadelphia kids this summer and for years to come. There are similar Rebuild projects now underway in neighborhoods across the City that will deliver our young people the high-quality parks, rec centers, and libraries they deserve.”
This spring Rebuild announced a multi-million dollar commitment to the Fishtown site, including a complete renovation of the Lederer Pool and a major overhaul of the street hockey rink. These projects are underway and will begin construction in the coming months.
“Fishtown residents are passionate, committed, and focused on doing the best for their kids and neighbors,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke. “Residents and staff here at the rec center have been making due with aging facilities for far too long. This new playground is an incredible milestone for the Fishtown Rebuild project. That’s the promise of Rebuild. We’re looking forward to seeing this repeated at other centers throughout North Philadelphia.”
“Kids in Philadelphia need the same opportunities to learn, play, and grow as any young person in Pennsylvania,” said State Representative Mary Isaacson. “This amazing new play space is an example of the great things that can happen for our kids when elected officials at all levels work alongside community and partners to do the right thing for our Philadelphia neighborhoods.”
“High-quality public spaces are critical resources that residents use to connect to each other, advance shared priorities, and build upon the vitality of their community,” said The Trust for Public Land’s Pennsylvania State Director Owen Franklin. “Every neighborhood deserves an asset like what we’ll soon see at Fishtown rec, and we’re thrilled to see the incredible transformation of this space realized thanks to the support of our partners and community leaders.”
Since its first groundbreaking in December 2018, Rebuild has activated 41 projects at 30 sites across the city, including major renovation projects at the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center in Strawberry Mansion, the Vare Recreation Center in Grays Ferry, the Olney Recreation Center in Olney, the Heitzman Recreation Center in Harrowgate, and the Glavin Recreation Center in Port Richmond. Two-thirds of Rebuild’s initial 64 sites are in high needs areas, and all Rebuild funding addresses critical facilities needs in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries.
“Recreation centers like Fishtown are hidden gems that add so much to community life here in Philadelphia,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “This facility delivers amazing programming, and is a second home to all the neighborhood kids. Thanks to The Trust for Public Land, and the leadership of our Mayor and Council President, the Fishtown Rec is finally getting the investment it deserves.”
Rebuild projects are meeting ambitious diversity and inclusion goals, including 25-35% of all Rebuild contract dollars going to diverse Philadelphia businesses, and 15-25% to woman-owned firms. This month Rebuild launched a pilot of its paid apprenticeship program, to offer diverse city residents a paid pathway into careers in the building trades.
“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize and transform Philadelphia’s neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries,” said Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman. “The work now underway across the city lays the foundation for sustainable neighborhoods and a more equitable City, with a diverse and inclusive building trades workforce.”
To stay up to date on the Fishtown project and all Rebuild sites, visit rebuild.phila.gov.
Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild)
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.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.
About Parks & Recreation
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.