The Passyunk Square Civic announced that the Columbus Square friends group has been awarded a grant for design services to renovate the park, which could use a little TLC.
The park — which is often mistakenly called Passyunk Square — is bounded by 12th, 13th, Reed and Wharton streets. On the east side are the rec center, the newish playground and the dog run, but the majority of the park is dominated by a rarely used athletic field surrounded by a high fence. The result is a big, often-empty expanse of patchy grass.
In our dreams, this grant could be the first step toward a Rittenhouse-style passive park for the neighborhood. But the folks at the Columbus Square Park Advisory Council stressed that the process is in the very earliest of stages and that no decisions have been made about what the park will look like in the future.
The grant for pro-bono professional design services comes from the nonprofit Community Design Collaborative. From the announcement on the Passyunk Square civic’s website:
A task force made up of neighbors, along with representatives from the private sector and the city will be working with the Community Design Collaborative team to design a plan to renovate the park. The plan will be complete in about six months, The Columbus Square Advisory Council hopes to use the plan to secure funding to make the plans a reality.
Ilene Wilder, who’s in charge of the advisory council, said the task force will have its first meeting in a couple weeks and that you can tell them what you’d like to see there by emailing columbussquarepark@
“At this point, I cannot say what the final outcome will be, that will be determined by the process,” she told us. “We are excited about the possibilities, however.”
Indeed. A nice, landscaped park is exactly what this neighborhood needs.
Of course, many people in the neighborhood believe that removing the athletic field in exchange for a passive park will take away opportunities for kids to stay out of trouble. But to that, we say that another baseball field and basketball courts are two blocks away at 10th and Wharton.
Besides, those stone posts around it make it look like it used to be a proper park, and that the fence was added later.
Unfortunately, the earliest pictures we could find were from 1960, which show the fence and the newly planted trees on the north side.
UPDATE: Thanks to reader & Facebook friend Katherine Knorr and commenter Sarah, who almost simultaneously found this picture of the park in 1934. Back then, it was a real, passive park AND it was called Passyunk Square.
So, what do you think? Should the ballfield stay? Or what else do you want instead?