Rebuild Philadelphia, an initiative of Mayor Kenney’s Administration focuses on improvements to parks, rec centers, and libraries throughout the City of Philadelphia, from a holistic perspective. But did you know that Rebuild wants to hear from you regarding projects in your neighborhood?

What’s especially unique about the Rebuild process compared to other capital improvement programs is the effort that goes into community engagement – dedicated to all phases of design and construction. 

Successful outreach and engagement will look different for every site, customized to each community. At the same time the Rebuild engagement process features core pillars to our strategy, to achieve high quality experiences for all residents and stakeholders on these generational investments. These core pillars or best practices include: 

  • Achieve connectivity with the community 
  • Ensure that those who participate comprise a representative cross-section of the site’s surrounding community
  • Center the voice and vision of residents who know, love, and frequent these places. In addition, reaching members of the community who may not currently use the facility, but would;
  • Facilitate fun and meaningful conversations that foster a sense of hope, community, and stewardship and strive for consensus around desired outcomes.

Let’s do a quick rundown on Rebuild’s community engagement process…

During the assessment phase, Rebuild develops an understanding of the community, site context, and history. In addition, this phase allows Rebuild to learn and develop working relationships with staff and stakeholders– while identifying what channels are needed to communicate with the community, utilizing surveys and focus groups to assess the demographics and the needs of the community who uses the site. Project sites are also assessed on the quality of the building and grounds to see what improvements or renovations need to be completed. 

As a part of the process Rebuild contracts with non-profit development groups (known at Rebuild as Project Users or PUs). These PUs bring their architects, engineers, and designers to the table to meet with community advisory groups and facility staff members to talk about past usage of the site and what improvements can assist future functionality. This includes programs currently run at the site, the amount of space and amenities needed.

Project Users and Rebuild work together to  hold public meetings at each design phase, starting from a broad perspective during concept/schematic design to learn how the community uses the space and gather feedback about what the future site would ideally look like for each user. From this info, project users and Rebuild then refine the process by providing options based on all of the feedback gathered. 

What to expect at Rebuild’s Community Engagement events

Each community engagement is designed to fit the needs of each community– but overall the outcome remains the same, Rebuild’s desire to walk with the community through the entire process. 

When attending a Rebuild community meeting or event, residents will have the opportunity to speak with the design team and representatives from Rebuild. Each meeting will include maps or diagrams showcasing what areas are to be improved. At design meetings later in the process,  the community will be presented with updated diagrams and engage in dialogue and activities that help the designers refine their vision. During later phases the community will be shown detailed drawings with furniture options and color schemes. 

Once the final design has been completed, construction drawings are created and bids are advertised to contractors— then construction begins. Throughout the construction phase residents in the surrounding community  will continue to receive updates regarding the construction progress. 

What to look out for following construction

Now that construction has wrapped–  it’s time to celebrate with a ribbon-cutting!

With the Rebuild Initiative, communities can now look forward to future generations enjoying their new recreation centers, libraries, playgrounds. Through design, construction and ribbon cutting, Rebuild hopes that with the input from Philadelphians, site improvements and growth can lead to positive changes in their neighborhoods.

The Rebuild program will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers, and libraries. Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. Learn more about Rebuild’s approved sites and the work being completed.