Rebuild is putting young people at the center of plans to improve their community spaces. Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, Rebuild is the Mayor’s program to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries. Because kids use our parks, playgrounds, recs, and libraries everyday, they offer great insight into what is working, and what needs fixing.

Check out how Rebuild and its partners work with young people to plan multi-million-dollar improvements to our parks and rec centers:

Heitzman Recreation Center: Summer campers at this Harrowgate rec center spent a design day drawing their new playground. After learning about careers in landscape architecture and engineering from Ground Reconsidered and Rodriguez Consulting, the campers got to work sketching designs for their dream playground. Popular suggestions included mazes, climbing walls, a dog park, and a dedicated soft play area for toddlers and young children.

Vare Recreation Center: At Vare, Make the World Better is getting ideas for the $14 million rec center redesign by spending a day in the lives of the young people who call Vare home. From practicing back flips with the gymnastics team to taking part in Mr. Mike’s teen summer camp, the Make the World Better team is hearing first hand what facilities and features Gray’s Ferry youth want for their new rec center.

East Poplar Playground: After school program participants at East Poplar knew their playground equipment was getting old, but they didn’t want their unique play space replaced by any old cookie cutter slides and swings. To maintain the features they love about their park, the students helped landscape architects design a new and improved version of the “giant hamburger” play equipment they grew up with. The new designs will be presented to community members this fall.

Glavin Playground: A game night and brainstorm on the basketball courts helped Pennsylvania Horticultural Society kick off a $1.4 million upgrade to this Port Richmond playground. The neighborhood kids gathered to eat pretzels, play games, and start writing their wish lists for the new playground.

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