PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney today joined Councilmember Bobby Henon at the Disston Recreation Center to cut the ribbon ground on a $1.1 million new playground, outdoor fitness area, site furnishings, and improved site landscaping. At the event, the Mayor announced Rebuild’s further commitment to improve the indoor facilities at Disston Recreation Center. Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, Rebuild is the Kenney Administration’s signature initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries. 

Disston residents, schools, and families rely on the recreation center’s popular outdoor facilities, and are making good use of the new playground, new seating and outdoor fitness center. However, the gymnasium, weight room, theater, and multipurpose rooms in the recreation building have been underutilized for a number of years due to poor heating and cooling. Without a reliable heating system, the beautiful full-sized gymnasium at Disston Rec can remain unused for long periods of time throughout the year. Building improvements, including cornice repairs, are expected to enter construction in summer 2021. 

Disston Recreation Center is currently open, serving students as one of 40 Parks & Recreation facilities operating a student Access Center. Access Centers offer Disston families a safe, free place for their children to complete the virtual school day. Students at the Disston Access Center receive free breakfast, lunch, and snack, and enjoy brain breaks and recess outside on the playground. 

“Families deserve the quality neighborhood facilities Rebuild has made possible here at Disston,” said Mayor Kenney. “Rec centers are providing our families with so many essential services throughout the pandemic. From meal sites to summer camps and safe places for kids to do their virtual learning, our recreation centers need investment now more than ever. I am so excited that through Rebuild and the beverage tax, we are able to deliver this major investment in Philadelphia’s beloved neighborhood places.”

“This community’s dedication to its children and each other is inspiring,” Councilmember Bobby Henon  said. “It is a joy to represent such a dynamic and caring community. I’m so pleased that through Rebuild we are able to give Disston Rec the makeover it so desperately needed. My thanks to all of our partners here for sharing the community’s dedication to this rec center, and all of our neighborhood assets in District 6.”

Rebuild has completed over 40 capital projects to improve neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries. The program currently has work underway at 65 facilities across the City, representing over $160 million in committed funds. 

“Rebuild is working urgently to deliver safe, quality places for residents to learn, play, and grow,” said Rebuild Executive Director Kira Strong. “Now more than ever, Philadelphia families are relying on their rec centers to provide services, supports, and the strong sense of community we all need right now. Here at Disston, and across Philadelphia, Rebuild is working to deliver improvements that support sustainable neighborhoods, and a more equitable City, with a diverse and inclusive building trades workforce.” 

“Our recreation centers are vital life lines for families and residents,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “For too long, too many rec centers made do with too little investment. The age and wear and tear on these facilities did not allow Parks & Rec to deliver the breadth and depth of programs families want and need. The work being done at Disston will change that, and I am so grateful to our Mayor, Councilmember and residents for supporting Rebuild and the investment in our parks, libraries, and rec centers.”

“We are so happy to have such a beautiful space where our families can enjoy quality time outdoors,” said Ester Roche-Curet, Community School Coordinator at Disston Elementary School. “During COVID-19, our students need a safe place where they can play and stay active after their day of virtual learning. Disston families appreciate having wonderful play spaces that allow for social distancing right in their neighborhood. Thanks to Rebuild, the Disston Elementary community has a great place to play, exercise, and enjoy each other’s company right here at the rec.”

To stay up to date on the Disston project and all Rebuild sites, visit 


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.