As 2022 comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the exciting programs, events, and milestones that helped make this year special. This look back also brings the promise of a lot to look forward to in 2023. Happy Holidays, Philly and cheers to an exciting New Year.

Rebuild is on a roll with unveiling newly renovated and updated parks, recreation centers, libraries, and playgrounds

The Rebuild program, a historic investment in Philadelphia communities, celebrated the renovations and reopenings of four recreation centers and broke ground on four more projects this year.

On June 15, community members came together to celebrate the Vare Recreation Center groundbreaking. This Rebuild project is a $20 million investment in the Vare community and the many teams, clubs, and programs that call Vare home.

See more of the changes Rebuild is making across our city!

More than 13,000 children have benefited from free, quality pre-K

PHLpreK sets our children up for success by providing free, quality pre-K to Philadelphia families. The program has more than doubled in size from 2,000 seats at 89 locations in 2017 to 4,300 seats at 180 locations this year.

We’re proud to have served more than 13,000 children so far!

Philadelphia launched a 24-hour violence prevention hotline

The Kenney Administration and City Council, in partnership with United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) and 211 Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) launched a 24-hour Violence Prevention Hotline.

By dialing “2-1-1”, callers can access resources and services related to gun violence prevention for themselves and their neighborhoods. The new Hotline will provide real-time support to people at-risk for engaging in violence, or who are in neighborhoods experiencing high rates of gun violence. These supports are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are available via phone call, text, email, or website chat.

We added three new Community Schools to our roster

This year, we added three new Community Schools bringing the total number of community schools to 17 schools across our city serving nearly 10,000 students.

Community Schools are a partnership among the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, and school communities to remove barriers to learning and support the success of each student.

In each Community School, a Coordinator supports strategic partnerships and programs that promote wellness, stability, and learning opportunities for students, families, and neighbors.

Each Community School also offers social service and attendance case management services, along with out-of-school-time activities. Because each community is unique, the specific services offered by Community Schools vary depending on the needs of a school.

We welcomed individuals and families seeking asylum who were bused from Texas

On Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the City of Philadelphia began to welcome individuals seeking asylum who were bused from Texas. As a proud welcoming city, we continue to greet our newly arrived neighbors with dignity and respect. As of December 12, 2022, we’ve helped 266 asylum seekers continue on to other states, reunite with loved ones, or stay in Philadelphia.

Philly sports and activities soared!

FIFA announced the World Cup is coming to our city in 2026!

The Philadelphia Union made it to the MLS Cup!

The Phillies went to the World Series!

The Broad Street Run was back to its usual spring date!

The Unity Cup celebrated it’s sixth annual tournament! Congratulations to this year’s winners, Team USA!

George Washington High School’s competitive cheer team became the first team in the School District of Philadelphia’s history to make it to National Cheerleaders Association High School Nationals, the largest all-star cheerleading competition in the world!

Outdoor dining and streeteries are here for good

On October 19, 2022, the City of Philadelphia announced details regarding its outdoor dining program including permanent regulations for Streeteries, providing restaurant owners with new annual licensing options for a type of outdoor dining authorized in the parking lane on city streets.

The City considered input from restaurant owners, residents, and the lessons learned by other cities over the past two and a half years in the creation of the permanent Outdoor Dining Program.

We opened more than 140 spraygrounds and pools this summer

Despite a nationwide lifeguard shortage, we were able to open 50 of the City’s pools this summer and more than 90 spraygrounds to give kids and families a great, free space to cool off this summer.

This is also your sign to add “become a lifeguard for Parks & Recreation” to your New Year’s Resolutions list. Starting pay is $16/hour.

Residents enjoyed the Harriet Tubman statue that visited City Hall

A nine-foot tall, bronze statue titled  “Harriet Tubman, The Journey to Freedom” sculpted by Wesley Wofford was brought to Philadelphia for her 200th birthday.

It was unveiled on the northeast corner of City Hall in mid-January and remained until March to commemorate her birth. Close to four million people either visited the statue in Philadelphia or experienced its positive response through social media. Due to the public’s response and enthusiasm, the City committed to erecting a permanent statue that celebrates Harriet Tubman’s life and legacy. The call for artists is now open.

Enjoy this video with Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer and Executive Director of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, as she explains what the Harriet Tubman – The Journey to Freedom traveling exhibition represents!

We announced a historic win against illegal dumping

For the first time ever an offender was not only caught illegal dumping but they were held accountable through civil prosecution. Through the Streets Department’s initiative to take action against illegal dumpers and not just continuously complete cleanups around the city, an offender was found to be in violation of the Philadelphia Code and ordered to pay over $10,700 in total penalties that consists of a $5,000 fine and over $5,700 in abatement cleanup costs.

We launched trial installations for the Philly Streetlight Improvement Project

The trial installations for the Philly Streetlight Improvement Project (PSIP), a comprehensive light emitting diode (LED) street lighting, controls and networking project launched in November. The trial installations kick-off the stakeholder engagement period for the multi-year, citywide project to convert over 120,000 streetlights to LED fixtures. The project is designed to reduce energy costs, improve operations and maintenance capabilities, and enhance nighttime visibility for pedestrians and motorists.

We successfully removed over one million pounds of trash and debris from city streets

A total of 16,307 miles were cleaned and 1,485,300 pounds (742.65 tons) of debris was removed through the City’s Mechanical Cleaning Pilot Program. The program includes a hybrid of mechanical sweeping, sidewalk litter and trash removal, and trash compactor removal. The program operates in 14 neighborhoods.

We created an association for vendors in FDR Park

The City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy awarded a $100,000 small business development grant to the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia. The grant was awarded to continue the development of the Vendors Association at FDR Park and create a permanent, licensed home for a Southeast Asian food and cultural marketplace in FDR Park.

We launched a free program to provide legal support for low-income tenants facing eviction

On February 1, we launched Right to Counsel, which currently provides low-income renters in Philadelphia’s 19139 and 19121 ZIP codes with free legal representation if they are facing eviction. Philadelphia is the seventh U.S. city to implement this policy. To access Right to Counsel and other renter resources, tenants can call the Philly Tenant Hotline at (267) 443-2500.

Right to Counsel builds on a growing network of resources for Philadelphia tenants facing eviction, including the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project and the Eviction Diversion Program.

We celebrated the potentially life-saving success of speed cameras on Roosevelt Boulevard

Roosevelt Boulevard was chosen for the Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) pilot program because it has one of the highest rates of crashes in the city.

When ASE was introduced in June 2020 the program issued warnings to over 220,000 vehicles traveling 11 miles per hour or more over the speed limit. This past January 2022 ASE issued only 15,000 tickets, a stunning 93 percent fewer speeding violations.

Additional analysis estimates this reduction in the number of speeding vehicles lead to 30 percent fewer crashes compared to the city average and 50 percent fewer traffic deaths in just the first seven months of the program.

In-person celebrations and special events are in full swing

Parades, tree lightings, and other holiday events are in full effect! 

This year we celebrate the holidays with new energy— Philly is definitely outside!

This is a small snapshot of all the exciting things that took place in the City of Brotherly Love this year.

We’re excited to see what 2023 has in store!