PHILADELPHIA (JULY 21, 2021) – Today, Mayor Kenney and City Council President Darrell Clarke joined City officials and community members to celebrate the opening of the renovated 8th & Diamond Playground.
A part of a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant and the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild Initiative, the 8th and Diamond playground represents a unique partnership between Rebuild, the Division of Housing and Community Development, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.
Funding for this project comes from a combination of investment from the Choice Neighborhoods Grant, awarded to the City of Philadelphia through DHCD and the Philadelphia Housing Authority by HUD, additional HUD funding, and Rebuild, the city’s historic investment in parks, recreation centers and libraries.
“Today’s ribbon cutting celebrates an exciting example of what can happen when the city and partners work in concert with the community. The new playground is dynamic, accessible hub for children, families and residents to play and recreate,” said Mayor James Kenney. “Today we celebrate this playground’s unique history serving the North Philadelphia community and look forward to its next era of play.”
“The citizens of the 8th & Diamond neighborhood in North Philadelphia have long deserved a park that matches their energy and their love of community,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District). “These renovations and expansion will give neighbors a place to come together, share memories, recreate and thrive.”
“The completion of the 8th and Diamond Playground is an important part of our larger Choice Neighborhoods Strategy,” said Melissa Long, Director of the City’s Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). “We are so pleased to see all the updates and amenities at this playground come to fruition. DHCD and the City of Philadelphia have an ongoing commitment to strengthening neighborhood assets, and hope that many children and families in this community will utilize this playground for many years to come.”
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) served as the consultant for landscape design, planning, and project management for the 8th and Diamond Playground renovation. The design process incorporated the direct feedback of community members including families, schools, and community organizations. Working in conjunction with SMP Architects, PHS was able to deftly respond to the community’s needs.
Totaling over $2.2M in investment the project updates include:
- An expanded recreation center with improvements made to accommodate future programming needs
- Playground renovations focused on intergenerational activities and play options that encourage physical activity
- Dynamic climbing structures for children
- A series of pull up bars for youth and adults
- An intergenerational swing that allows caregivers to enjoy face to face playtime with younger children
- “Old school” pavement games such as hop-scotch
- Universally accessible spray ground
- ADA accessible picnic tables
- Game tables
- Updated basketball courts
“We are so proud of our partnership at 8th & Diamond,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “Through the combination of Rebuild funding and the Choice Neighborhoods grant, PHS was able to deliver on the Rebuild Promise to acknowledge the history of this incredible site, engage the community meaningfully to understand their vision, and invest intentionally to deliver a quality resource in their neighborhood.”
“At the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, we believe in using the power of horticulture to advance health and well-being. One of the ways we do this is to combine excellence in landscape architecture and design with robust community engagement to help create spaces that communities love to use. This renovation of the 8th and Diamond Playground highlights the transformative power of PHS’s approach,” said Matt Rader, President of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
“We are so pleased with the incredible renovations to the 8th & Diamond playground,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “Transformational improvements like these allow our Parks & Rec programs to thrive and increase our ability to impact even more community members.”
REBUILD is a historic investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild’s promise to acknowledge history, engage the community and invest intentionally seeks to uplift pivotal community spaces, empower neighborhoods, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.
The Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is the City of Philadelphia’s housing policy agency. DHCD is responsible for the funding and support of housing and community development programs that benefit low- and moderate-income residents and revitalize the City’s neighborhoods. This is accomplished through effective and innovative policy development and implementation. DHCD administers the City’s housing budget, which is funded from a variety of public and private sources, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is the primary source of revenue from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is used to fund and support housing and community development activities. Each fiscal year DHCD prepares the Annual Action Plan, which delineates how the grant and other funds will be used.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, plays an essential role in the vitality of the Philadelphia region by creating healthier living environments, increasing access to fresh food, growing economic opportunity, and building deeper social connections between people. PHS delivers this impact through comprehensive greening and engagement initiatives in more than 250 neighborhoods; an expansive network of public gardens and landscapes; year-round learning experiences; and the nation’s signature gardening event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. PHS provides everyone with opportunities to garden for the greater good as a participant, member, donor, or volunteer. For information and to support this work, please visit PHSonline.org.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of its people through stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways, and management of 500 recreation buildings, 166 miles of trail, and 250 playgrounds. PPR offers safe, enjoyable recreation, environmental and cultural programs and events throughout Philadelphia’s parks and recreation system. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. In 2017, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, set about implementing the park system’s first strategic plan: Our Path to 2020 and Beyond. As a result, PPR is undertaking a period of historic change, setting the department on a course to become a modern, equitable and exceptional parks and recreation system. Visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.