By Sequoia Medley
An eager crowd gathered at the East Passyunk Community Center (EPCC) on Tuesday, December 11th for the unveiling of designs for the center’s outdoor spaces. The renderings were well-received as an exciting reimagining of the sole public green space serving the surrounding neighborhood. The presentation, by a team of design professionals assembled by the Community Design Collaborative (CDC), was the culmination of several public visioning sessions and meetings with those who use the space.
The year-long planning process was spearheaded by the EPCC Advisory Council. The Council works with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to organize special events, promote the Center, and plan and raise funds for site improvements.
EPCC, 1025 Mifflin Street, provides space for athletic, dance, art, and music programs. The building’s meeting spaces host civic meetings, Girl Scouts, the local chapter of the Special Olympics, Vikings New Year’s’ Brigade, a seniors group, as well as cultural, heritage, and history events.
The green space outside the building is a different story. The corner site is one of the only Parks & Rec facilities parks located between Broad Street and 6th Street from Marconi Plaza to Columbus Square. Sadly, it is largely paved with concrete except for an area of threadbare grass. Several trees provide shade, although an arborist reported that most were near the end of their lifespan. The site has no permanent play equipment, but children make use of the sculptural bronze-and-concrete sundial located on the site’s southwest corner.
Since the Advisory Council was formed in 2015 they have made improvements to the site including removing overgrown landscaping and adding a bocce court on the site of an outdoor smoking area used by the building’s former tenants.
Attempting to provide something for everyone, the plans call for a radical redesign that creates a welcoming multipurpose arena designed to serve the diverse needs of neighbors of all ages and interests.
Leah Rominger and Missy Van Sleet, two of the seven-person volunteer team assembled by the CDC for this project, summarized the previous community input before unveiling the design renderings intended to be presented to future landscape architects and contractors.