PHILADELPHIA (SEPTEMBER 29, 2021) – Today, Mayor Kenney and Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District) joined City officials and community members to celebrate the opening of the renovated Miles Mack Playground and the completion of $2.3 million in site updates led by the Rebuild initiative, the City’s historic investment in public spaces.
The renovated playground and rec center will feature refurbished basketball courts, accessibility updates, a fitness loop, sprayground, new picnic area, and a renovated rec center with new finishes and ADA accessible restrooms.
In the process of planning and completing these updates, Rebuild and the City of Philadelphia worked hand-in-hand with the surrounding Mantua community. The playground and rec center have a special significance to the neighborhood and bear the name of Miles Mack, a coach, mentor and community leader who tragically passed away while protecting his young athletes. Together, the City and community developed a dynamic, multigenerational place to play, learn, and grow – honoring and reflecting Mack’s legacy. Mural Arts Philadelphia also updated the rec center’s mural honoring the life of Miles Mack.
“We can all take inspiration from community leaders like Miles Mack, who dedicated his life to community and the wellbeing of young people,” said Mayor James Kenney. “Miles Mack gave his life to protect the children in his care. We keep his vision and legacy alive by investing in neighborhood facilities like Miles Mack Playground, and providing resources and spaces where community members of all ages can come together, play, and thrive in a safe environment.”
“It’s so exciting that our first Rebuild site in the 3rd District is now complete. The Miles Mack enhancements are a testament to what’s possible through just and deserving investments in community spaces around our city,” said City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier. “I’m grateful to Mayor Kenney and to Parks and Rec for their commitment to the Mantua community.”
Totaling over $2.3M, in investment the project updates include:
- An updated recreation building 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
- Universally accessible sprayground
- A brand new fitness loop complete with an adult fitness area
- Brand new, ADA accessible picnic area
- Refurbished basketball courts
- The addition of new trees and updated landscaping to the playground and picnic area
“We hope the beautiful new Miles Mack Playground and Recreation Center serves as a tribute to Miles Mack and the joy his coaching young people brought to this community,” said Kira Strong. “His legacy of service lives on through the incredibly strong and dedicated Mack family’s commitment to service and community.”
“It is a true honor to play a role in memorializing Miles Mack, a community activist and basketball coach whose memory still inspires members of the Mantua neighborhood and the City of Philadelphia,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. “Mack was tragically taken from us while awarding trophies to youth in his basketball league and used his body as a shield to protect one of the players. He was a hero then and remains a hero to this day.”
“Miles Mack Playground is a cornerstone for this community, and that foundation is made stronger by the incredible renovations to the Miles Mack Playground,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “We hope the transformational improvements can inspire the next generation of community leaders like Miles Mack and ensure programs for young people and families continue to thrive.”
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.
Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 35 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating over 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to understanding with projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world, and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public art and its preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ iconic and unparalleled collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “City of Murals.” For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit muralarts.org. Follow us on social media: @muralarts on Twitter and Instagram, MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook, and phillymuralarts on YouTube.
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.