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Archive | Parks & green space

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Upgrade in store for East Passyunk Community Center outdoor space

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.

Leah Rominger, Community Design Collaborative volunteer, presents her group’s research findings.

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.

Existing view from 11th and Mifflin looking northeast.

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.

More space for play, less paving.

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.

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FDR Park community meeting tonight!

You’re invited to opine about plans for FDR Park tonight, Wednesday, November 14, from 6-8pm at South Philly High. This is the second of three FDR Park Master Plan community meetings organized by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Friends of FDR Park, and WRT Design.

The Conservancy promises that the meeting will be “a fun, open-house style meeting where you can learn more about the planning process, weigh in on potential scenarios for the future of the park, and get information on events, activities, and resources the park already offers.”

Refreshments, free childcare, and language interpreters will be available.

Spread the word to your neighbors, friends and family!

Learn more about the plan here:…/capital-projects/fdr-park/.




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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

FDR Park: Master Plan, Survey, and Call for Artists

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, also known as F.D.R. Park and “The Lakes,” has provided a green oasis for  South Philly since the early 1900s. The park’s popularity, years of active use, flooding, and major projects like the construction of Sports Complex and I-95 have taken their toll on the park. Now, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, is preparing a master plan for the 348-acre park – and they’re seeking your input. They’ve also just released a call for artists for a temporary environmental art installation.

The Overlook on Edgewood Lake, FDR Park. Courtesy of the Farimount Park Conservancy.

Not What It Used to Be

First named League Island Park, the park’s original plan was created by famed landscape designers, the Olmsted Brothers. When it opened in 1921 the park stretched from 11th Street to 20th Street. In 1926 the portion of the park east of Broad Street was redeveloped into Municipal Stadium, now the site of the Wells Fargo Center. Additional acreage was lost to the construction of Interstate 95. According to the park’s nomination to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places:

Over the years F.D.R. Park lost approximately 32 acres of parkland, including a running track, a picnic shelter with fireplace, several heavily used picnic areas, a soccer field, a volleyball court, a children’s playground, the Melville Memorial and 649 mature trees.

Running track? Volleyball court? Soccer field? More trees? Yes, please!

The original League Island Park plan by the Olmsted Brothers, 1913. The area on the right is now the site of the Sports Complex. I-95 runs through the site roughly along the area at the bottom labeled “right of way.” Courtesy of Free Library of Philadelphia, Map Collection

Master Plan: Your Input Wanted

According to the Fairmount Park Conservancy, “the goal of the master plan is to revitalize the park, restoring it back to its original intent as an urban oasis for people as well as plants and animals, and create a shared vision for the park’s future.” Part of this process involves collecting extensive community input. A public meeting was held in June and an online survey was created.

Public meeting participants. Courtesy Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Call for Artists

This Fall, the Conservancy is seeking an artist or team of artists to create an outdoor environmental art installation or interactive experience. The goal is to “invite visitors and community members to engage with the relationship between FDR Park and climate change.” Artists may submit ideas for participatory projects, installations, sculpture, and multi-disciplinary interventions that engage FDR Park users.

Suggested locations for the art installation (outlined in red).

The project must be installed or activated by Friday, October 19, 2018. A stipend of $4,000 will be allocated for the artist/artist team. This commission is part of the Arts and Culture Program at the Conservancy, supported by grants from CUSP at The Franklin Institute and William Penn Foundation.

F.D.R. Park Action Items:

Take the FDR Park user survey to let the Conservancy know your thoughts on the future of FDR Park.

Apply to the call for artists.

Learn more about the master planning process.

Read more about FDR Park’s history.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

New Courtyard from Old Materials for Southwark School

Southwark School at 9th and Mifflin Streets is gearing up for an exciting redesign of the 9th Street courtyard into a true community space. Since February, Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restored Spaces Initiative, in collaboration with the Spanish trash-focused artist collective Basurama – which translates to “Trash-o-rama” – has worked with community members, Southwark School students, faculty, and staff, to design and produce furniture for the currently empty space.

Southwark School – 9th Street project area. Credit: Google Maps.

At the beginning of the school year, Mural Arts installed the mural “Weaving Culture” on the north side of the 9th Street courtyard. This vibrant mural was designed in collaboration with Southwark students, parents, faculty and staff.

“Weaving Culture” mural by James Dunn in collaboration with Southwark School student artists. Photo credit: Steve Weinik.

Earlier this year, Southwark parents and neighbors had an opportunity to design the new benches and planters that will be placed in the courtyard in front of the mural. The distinctive feature of the design, and a specialty of artist collective Basurama, is that all of the fixtures will be built from recycled materials, including, very appropriately, old school desks.

The design process has been a real community effort. The meetings, during which several translators were present, have been well attended by a true cross-section of the community found in and around Southwark School.

The final design was presented on April 23rd at a meeting where the community had the opportunity to discuss and vote on the design and the placement of benches and planters within the space. After some discussion and careful deliberation the final arrangement and orientation of the fixtures were agreed upon unanimously.

East side of 9th Street, looking northeast. Credit: Google Maps.

The first phase of the courtyard construction is taking place this week, June 4th to June 8th. While some highly-skilled work will be done by professionals, community members (and others) are welcome and encouraged to participate in the collaborative build. Just stop by the site between 10 a.m. and noon or 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to lend a hand. A second construction phase will occur this fall.

After this week’s build-out is completed, a representative of artist collective Basurama will address the community at Bok on June 11th at 6 pm. Basurama will be joined by Ron Whyte (activist and blogger, Deep Green Philly), Nic Esposito (Director, City of Philadelphia Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet), and Raquel de Anda (artist; Director of Public Engagement, No Longer Empty). Register or find more information about the event here.

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South Philly’s ‘Secret’ Parks, Gardens & Green Spaces

Julian Abele Park, 22nd and Carpenter Streets. Photo by Friends of Julian Abele Park.


Now that Spring is finally here you might be looking for a quiet green space where you can enjoy the sunshine.  Curbed Philly posted a great list of 25 ‘secret’ parks and green spaces in the city.  South Philly was represented by eight sites from six neighborhoods:

We can think of a few ‘extra-secret’ South Philly spots missing from the list:

  • Ridgway Park tucked behind CAPA at 13th & Carpenter in Hawthorne, with its wonderful shade trees, a playground and a pool.
  • Mollbore Terrace – actually two separate green spaces located between Oregon Avenue and Johnston Street, 10th and 13th Streets.
  • Weinberg Park – a tiny green triangle on the border of Lower Moyamensing and Whitman.
  • Moyamensing Avenue medians – this linear green space divides Moyamensing Ave. from 15th to 20th.

Can you think of others?  Let us know in the comments below, and check out Curbed Philly’s piece here.

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