The once-dead park on 4th and Manton streets has been transformed into the Manton Street Community Garden and Park, and there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for it on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. with Mayor Nutter and other bigwigs.
The event will also feature a block party with food, stilt-walkers, face painting, crafts and more.
Manton Street Park was originally a pocket park in the 1960s, but over the years it became neglected and filled with debris. Resident Mark Berman, the president of the Manton Street Park and Community Garden, took up the cause in 2011 and fliered the neighborhood to gauge interest in cleaning the park.
Within two weeks, Berman said he received 15 phone calls from neighbors who wanted to help. Just as they were getting going, word surfaced that the lots that made up the park would be put up for auction by the city. “When the developer read our story in the Daily News,” Berman said on Pennsporter, “they offered to forego the purchase of two lots because they were not aware that the land was a park and because there was such a strong community interest in preserving it.”
Now, it’s been spruced up and it’s ready for the spotlight. Berman thanked Fairmount Parks Conservancy for awarding the Friends of Manton Street Park & Community Garden a Grow Your Neighborhood grant and the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society for additional funding.
The community has already arranged regular block clean ups, community activities, kids’ nights in the park, garden parties, and the planting of over half a dozen new trees, Berman said.
– Ruthann Alexander, @RuthannAlexande