Philadelphia – As part of a larger effort to highlight the need for Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild), Mayor Jim Kenney, joined by City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, toured Francis J. Myers Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia today to highlight the important role programming plays in communities across Philadelphia and the potential benefit to programs that Rebuild investments can create. Francis J. Myers Recreation Center is a 6.2-acre facility with a robust programming schedule, including an after-school program, pre-k program, an agricultural program, fitness classes, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) program, jump roping class, art classes, sports and more.
“Good programming, like we’ve seen here at Francis Myers, can make an incredible difference in the quality of life of Philadelphians. Whether it is a child benefitting from an afterschool program or learning good sportsmanship on the basketball team, or it’s an adult getting healthier through fitness classes or involved in their community, programming is what makes a recreation center more than just a building,” said Mayor Kenney. “But, the physical state of our facilities limit the capacity of existing programs and the kinds of programming available. When Rebuild changes the infrastructure of a recreation center, library or park, it will impact the programming too.”
During the tour, Mayor Kenney, Councilman Johnson and the city officials learned about the afterschool program administered at Francis Myers, which serves 27 children, ages 5 to 12. The afterschool program provides a snack, homework help, performing arts instruction and a Jr. Farmers class. Mayor Kenney and Councilman Johnson also heard first-hand from community members who use Francis Myers Recreation Center.
Rebuild (Rebuilding Community Infrastructure) is a seven-year, $500 million investment in Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers, playgrounds and libraries. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia for all, Rebuild seeks to revitalize pivotal community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion. Rebuild is a public private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.
“We believe that Rebuild has the potential to strengthen the programming already offered at the City’s recreation centers and to better align the programming available at recreation centers and libraries with the wants and needs of the community,” said Nicole Westerman. “When we invest in community infrastructure and involve the community in the planning process, we can revitalize neighborhoods. Rebuild will be a catalyst for that change.”
Located in the 2nd Council District and represented by Councilman Johnson, Francis Myers Recreation Center is named after prominent Philadelphian Francis John Myers, a teacher and lawyer who served as both a congressman and senator for Pennsylvania. Francis Myers is home to a ball field, sports field, pool, KEYSPOT computer center, three tennis courts and six basketball courts.
“Myers Recreation Center is a major asset for this community. The programming offered to residents, including a safe place for kids to play basketball or seniors to use computers, makes this center a much-needed resource for the neighborhood as well as a community space for local organizations to host meetings and events,” said Councilman Johnson. “If selected for Rebuild investment, this facility could become a crown jewel of Southwest Philadelphia and would say to residents that Southwest has not been forgotten in the city’s new growth.”
Francis J. Myers has a long list of much-needed capital improvements, including structural repairs like first level floors and outside building walls, new electrical service, men and women’s bathrooms need full replacement, new water service to the rear building, new drainage system, new heating and AC system, new floors, roof drain and outside traps. Additionally, sections of the walk ways also need replaced.
“Once implemented, Rebuild will help provide children in our neighborhoods with the excellent facilities and programming they deserve,” said Commissioner Ott Lovell. “Additionally, we will be able to provide more high-quality programming to more young people across the city after we improve our facilities through Rebuild.”