PHILADELPHIA – Today Mayor Jim Kenney joined Councilman Curtis Jones to open the new multi-sport athletic field at the Parkside Evans Playground. The field was the first Rebuild project to break ground last December, and represents a major milestone for the program and the Parkside community. Rebuild is 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 Parkside Saints Youth and Mentoring Association is a popular youth football league that has been operating without a dedicated home field since 2010. Thanks to Rebuild, the City invested $500,000 to build a brand new multi-sport practice field at Parkside Evans. The new field is designed for both football and soccer, and includes an irrigation system, retaining walls, and drainage to ensure it is well maintained in all weather.
“Rebuild is our chance to give every young person in this City a neighborhood public space they can feel proud of,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “For too long, our parks, rec centers, and libraries haven’t received the investments necessary to benefit our neighborhoods and help residents thrive. The Parkside athletic field represents the type of major improvements Rebuild is bringing to communities across the city.”
The Parkside practice field is the first phase of a project that will also see a brand new game field built on the Parkside Evans campus. The game field is being supported by Rebuild with additional funding from a grant from the Philadelphia Eagles.
“This community loves football, and we love the Parkside Saints,” said Councilman Curtis Jones. “The young people here are finally able to have a home field, and the chance to have fun and stay fit right here in Parkside. We look forward to the next phase of the project here, and for additional Rebuild projects planned for the Fourth District.”
“This is a huge day for the Parkside Saints,” said Coach Clifford Smith. “These kids just want to play football, so we have been using this patch of grass as our unofficial practice field for years. Seeing the goal posts and lines on the field is tremendous. This league is all about building kids’ self esteem and providing discipline, life lessons, and positive role models. I am happy to see the city bringing new resources to our community through Rebuild.”
Since its first groundbreaking at Parkside Evans in December 2018, Rebuild has activated 62 projects at sites across the city, including major renovation projects at the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center, the Vare Recreation Center, the Olney Recreation Center, the Heitzman Recreation Center, Barrett Playground, Glavin Playground, and the Rivera Recreation Center. 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.
“The Parkside Saints, and all the kids in this community, have been waiting for their own field for a long time,” said Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “I am pleased to say that, thanks to Rebuild, the wait is over!”
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 began a training program for its first class of union trainees, a quarter of whom are women and all of whom are people of color. The program will recruit up to 35 participants a year, offering diverse city residents a paid pathway into a career in the building trades.
“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize 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 Parkside Evans project and all Rebuild sites, visit rebuild.phila.gov.
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.