PHILADELPHIA (SEPTEMBER 30, 2021) – Today, Mayor Jim Kenney joined community members, elected officials and city leaders while embarking on the first-ever Rebuild Philadelphia Groundbreaking Tour. Mayor Kenney and community members broke ground at three Philadelphia Parks & Recreation sites in North Philadelphia, kicking off over $20 million in projects moving into construction. The tour included Frank Glavin Playground in Port Richmond, Heitzman Recreation Center in Harrowgate, and Olney Recreation Center in Olney.

Philadelphia remains a champion when it comes to investing in public spaces like parks, recreation centers and libraries. Born from Mayor Kenney’s vision for equitable places for kids to recreate across Philadelphia in 2017, Rebuild is Philadelphia’s historic investment of over $400 million in parks, recreation centers and libraries.

“Today’s groundbreaking tour through North Philadelphia signifies the incredible momentum our Rebuild program has harnessed heading into this fall, thanks to support and input from North Philadelphia residents and our Rebuild partners” said Mayor Kenney. “These sites have long deserved improvements and I look forward to celebrating the completion of these projects, which will make the facilities more accessible and make new activities and opportunities possible for children and neighbors in the area.”

Each project site is set to receive millions of dollars in investment geared towards creating a safe, fun and useful space for the respective communities to enjoy.

“The redevelopment of the Olney Recreation Center will transform this space into an oasis for our Olney community and adjacent neighborhoods. In the years to come, this state-of-the art facility will serve as a gathering place for neighbors and families, provide our youth with a safe haven that meets their educational, social, and recreational needs, and offer a neighborhood-centered facility of culture and entertainment for residents across generations and ethnicities in this community,” said Councilmember Cherelle Parker who represents the 9th Council District. “We are excited about the future of the Olney Rec Center, and I am confident that this will be one of the crown jewels of the Rebuild Initiative.”

The 13.6-acre site, Olney Recreation Center with design led by Philadelphia Health Management Corporation will boast:

  • A new recreation center
  • Renovation to the gymnasium
  • New Recreational Track & Multi-sport turf field
  • Updated basketball and tennis courts
  • A brand new soccer mini-pitch
  • New picnic and seating areas
  • New multigenerational playgrounds
  • New, well-lit walking pathways
  • New heating and cooling system to accommodate programming year round

“Residents in the Harrowgate neighborhood deserve investment in their community and the funding of significant renovations to Heitzman Recreation Center through Rebuild is a step in the right direction,” said Mark Squilla, Councilmember representing the 1st Council District.

The 3-acre site, Heitzman Recreation Center with design led by Impact Services, will see upgrades like:

  • New multigenerational playground
  • A new multi-sport mini pitch
  • Renovations to the gymnasium
  • Renovations multi-purpose rooms
  • New ADA accessible restrooms
  • New outdoor adult fitness area
  • New heating and cooling systems to accommodate programming year round

“The updates to Glavin Playground will allow our neighbors and community to continue to come together to play and recreate,” said Councilmember Bobby Henon who represents the 6th Council District. “I’m excited to join the neighbors of Glavin Playground to celebrate its reopening.”

 Frank Glavin Playground with design led by Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will see improvements like:

  • New playgrounds
  • Shaded seating area
  • New trees throughout the playground
  • Renovated recreation building including new finishes, lighting, windows and ADA restrooms.
  • New heating and cooling systems to accommodate programming year round
  • New sprayground

These improvements come after an immersive community engagement process where neighbors were able to provide feedback and input at every step of the design process.

“The Rebuild Promise to Philadelphia comes to life through these projects,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “Acknowledging the unique history of each site while meaningfully engaging the community allows us to invest intentionally to create robust public spaces.”

“Thanks to the Rebuild initiative, today is an exciting day for the communities who call Glavin Playground, Heitzman Rec, and Olney Rec Center home,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation. “The investment in these communities will ensure these beloved sites continue to serve their neighborhoods for generations to come.”


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.

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, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.