Philadelphia Recreation Advisory Councils in the News

News about and for our neighborhood Recreation Centers. A huge thank-you to all of the stakeholders and volunteers who work tirelessly to make our Recreation Centers a point of communal pride! 

  • New play area opens at Fishtown Rec Center — the first completed project tied to Mayor Kenney’s Rebuild initiative

    July 23, 2019 | In the summer of 2016, as the Fishtown Recreation Center was down to its final swing and the jungle gym was rusted and broken, the Trust for Public Land called a community meeting at the playground.

    Leaders from the organization, a land conservation nonprofit, had set their sights on restoring the aging facility, which decades ago bustled with kids playing Bottle Capson the sidewalk and cannonballing into “the Swimmo.

  • Philly pool in violent-prone neighborhood reopens with police presence

    July 17, 2019 | The kids were back in the pool at the Belfield Rec Center in East Germantown after being shut down for over a week.

    "It was fun, it was fun," said a group of kids.

    The pool had been shut down because of a shooting war between two rival drug gangs in the neighborhood.

    "I believe we've had 13 shootings and probably about six homicides, so this is a continuing problem we've had in the community," said Lt. Bisarat Worede.

    The pool has now been reopened but on an abbreviated schedule of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and with police standing by near the pool keeping an eye on things.

    "We have an officer assigned to the pool and we also have an officer who's assigned to the area of 21st and Conlyn behind the pool for added security," said Lt. Worede.

    About 60 to 100 kids use the pool daily.

  • $3 million investment will build new soccer fields across Philly

    July 17, 2019 | Mayor Jim Kenney and officials from the Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) were to formally announce a $3 million, five-year plan to build two signature fields and 15 “mini-pitches” across the city. Both the Union and EPYSA have committed $500,000 donations over the next five years, with more than $2 million coming from the public/private Rebuilding Community Infrastructure program, better known as Rebuild, which was created with funding from the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.

    Capitolo Field, the South Philadelphia site which currently hosts several youth and adult soccer programs, will be the first recipient of a mini-pitch.

  • Philadelphia’s Parks And Recreation Gives Away Hundreds Of Free Swimsuits To Children

    July 17, 2019 | A City of Philadelphia department is making sure children have a swimsuit to stay cool at city public pools this summer. There are some parents who just don’t have the money to buy their kid a bathing suit, so Parks and Recreation is stepping in to make sure all city kids have one to have fun at the pool.

    This hot day for many turned into a fun pool day for kids at 26th and Master Streets in North Philadelphia, but slipping down a slide and jumping into the water is only allowed if you’re wearing a proper bathing suit.

    The Parks and Rec department found out not every kid owns one.

    “We have kids throughout the city who can’t afford swimsuits,” department spokesperson Alain Joinville said.

    The department started collecting swimsuits plus towels and goggles from donors. More than 400 suits have been given away so far and the kids are grateful. The city also offers free swimming lessons.

    CBS3 found people beating the heat in other ways, like one woman who just missed her bus in Fairmount.

    “It is too hot to be standing here for the bus, I’m kinda like peeking out,” Tiyhera Green said. “This is my only tad bit of shade.”

  • Recreation leader fights to balance safety, summer fun after gun violence shuts down pool

    July 17, 2019 | A shooting outside a Philadelphia recreation center led to the closing of a popular pool, but the recreation leader is taking measures to make sure the neighborhood can still enjoy the popular summer pastime.

    Tymir Regans spends most of his summer days at the Belfield Recreation Center doing a number of different activities, but one of his favorites is swimming.

    "It's hot outside, and I can see my friends, we can have fun in the pool, swimming. I like to swim," Regans said. But for Regans and dozens of other people who frequent the pool in East Germantown, their summer fun was put on hold about a week and a half because of violence in the neighborhood.

    "There was a shooting in the afternoon. We assessed everything, felt as though until the tension died down that we would close up for safety purposes," said Belfield Recreation Center leader Donnell Martin.

    Martin said that incident, combined with other shootings and fights in the area, led him to close the pool as they looked for ways to better protect the people using their facilities.

    But that closed pool frustrated Regans as he spent his days baking in the sun. 

    "I was mad 'cause I was like, why would they do that," he said. 

    But earlier this week, with an increase in police presence and the belief that the neighborhood violence was dying down, Martin refilled and reopened the pool.

    "We were almost daily conversations just making sure that it was safe to open, making sure that everyone felt comfortable in opening back up," Martin said. 

  • Neighbors frustrated over West Mill Creek Rec Center not being open to children and turned sprinklers off

    July 15, 2019 | Neighbors are frustrated over West Mill Creek Rec Center not being open to children.

    "It's 90 degrees on a Monday. You can’t stand out here without sweating," said Antwann Postell. That's exactly what kids in this West Philly neighborhood are doing because they don't have access to the West Mill Creek Rec Center in their neighborhood.

    "All we need is the center to be open.  We don't need nothing else. We don't need money or nothing else," said Postell. 

    On Monday, when FOX 29's Shawnette Wilson stopped by Antwann showed her the doors were locked and on a steamy day the sprinklers were off.  Some of the neighborhood children walked six blocks to Mill Creek Rec Center which has sprinklers, a pool and an open building.  But not here.

    “The building should be open in the summertime from I believe 11 to 9. Our building might open one or two hours out of a day and that's on a good day," said Antwann.  9-year-old Hope Lee came out with her brother Daniel after spending much of the day inside playing on her grandmother's cell phone.

    "I'd rather been out here having some fun. It's boring sitting inside the house all the time," said Hope

  • Mosquito devices ‘on pause’ in Philadelphia as Parks & Rec plans audit

    July 11, 2019 | Despite widespread outrage over the Mosquito devices installed in Philly parks — from city residents, public officials and people around the country — another one was slated to be installed later this year. Not anymore.

    The Department of Parks and Recreation has put all installations of the sonic youth repellents on hold, pending a comprehensive internal review.

    The review aims to determine the effectiveness of the device — which blares a high-pitched ringing noise to keep teens away — and whether the city should continue using it at public spaces in the future.

    “We’re on a pause right now,” Parks & Rec Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell said on WHYY’s Radio Times. “We hear the public feedback we’ve received and the media coverage, and we’re doing a pause on all future installations.”

    It’ll be a “comprehensive” process, per spokesperson Moria Miller, one that will include conversations with community members, rec center staffers and other city departments.

  • Tip Top Playground the latest River Wards rec area to receive potential makeover

    July 10, 2019 | Pier Derrickson of Friends of Tip Top Playground presented renderings of what Northern Liberties Tip Top Playground could potentially look like at a recent Fishtown Neighbors Association meeting in an effort to jumpstart conversations about giving the playground a makeover. 

    “This is really a starting point to get feedback from the community,” she said.

    The playground is encapsulated by Front Street to the east, Hope Street to the west, Wildey Street to the north and Allen Street to the south.

    Architect Kevin O’Neill, of KJO Architecture, showed two potential renderings.

    Both renderings show versions of the park with considerably more green space than currently exists at the park, which almost entirely consists of either concrete or asphalt.

    “We’re showing you guys tonight these two options, which sort of condensed down a lot of the ideas that we’ve been hearing from everybody over the past six to 12 months,” said O’Neill.

    The second rendering had a soccer field, which resident Jim Hardy, founder of Kensington Soccer Club, pushed for

  • Philly Park Officials Criticized for Installing Devices That Blare High-Frequency Noise at Young People

    July 6, 2019 | According to a report from WPVI last month, there are now some 31 Mosquito devices in the city’s parks, with almost all of the facilities listed as playgrounds or recreation centers.

    Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation department told WPVI that the devices, which cost $5,000 to install, are brought in at the request of community members, a district council leader, and in one case the police, and are intended to dissuade vandalism and disruptive gatherings. MST president Michael Gibson told Morning Edition the devices “move, non-confrontationally, youth from an area where they should not be” and prevent “graffiti [and] loitering.”

    Some locals, however, are understandably less than happy about having loud noises blared at them whenever they pass one of the devices at night, while others have questioned how this could possibly be interpreted as anything but a form of discrimination.

  • Connor Barwin receives Philadelphia's Magis Award on 4th of July

    July 4, 2019 | Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Connor Barwin received the Magis Award from the city of Philadelphia on Independence Day, mayor Jim Kenney announced. Barwin was presented the award at the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony Thursday Morning. Barwin established Make The World Better (MTWB) Foundation in 2013 during his first season in Philadelphia. As founder and president of Make The World Better, Barwin is dedicated to youth development. Through athletics, the arts and other outlets, Connor’s vision provides access to safe, accessible and fun places to play and gather.

    Barwin established Make The World Better (MTWB) Foundation in 2013 during his first season in Philadelphia. MTWB will lead community engagement, design and construction for South Philadelphia’s Vare Recreation Center, which had been facing potential closure. Connor is collaborating with the community to develop a shared vision for a modern, high-quality design for the Vare Center and other community projects.

  • ‘They must really hate teens’: Backlash grows against Mosquito devices in Philly parks. Councilmember Helen Gym is on a mission to get the “sonic weapons” taken down

    July 3, 2019 | Lamar Reed gripped his ears and reeled backwards.

    “Wow, they must really hate teenagers,” said the 17-year-old West Philly resident, as he glanced around East Poplar Playground. “It’s so loud. What if it damages our ears or something?”

    Reed had just heard the sound of the Mosquito, a high-pitched noisemaker installed at East Poplar and at least 29 other parks and recreation centers around Philadelphia. Their purpose? To keep teens and young adults away at night.

    The revelation that the city has been placing these devices in public spaces, covered by Billy Penn last month, has caused an uproar. On the front lines is at-large Councilmember Helen Gym, who refers to them as “sonic weapons.”

    “In a city that is trying to address gun violence and safe spaces for young people,” Gym said during a sit-down interview, “how dare we come up with ideas that are funded by taxpayer dollars to turn young people away from the very places that were created for them?”

    At a per-installation cost of around $5,000, the city has been installing these devices since 2014, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., they emit a constant ringing sound at such a high frequency that supposedly anyone over age 25 is immune.

    Another two Mosquitos are slated to be installed in Northeast Philly soon — one at Champions Park Playground and one at Roosevelt Playground.

    After that, no future installations are planned, said Parks & Rec spokesperson Maita Soukup.

  • What Summer Meals Means to the Mayor

    June 30, 2019 | A warm, muggy day in Northeast Philadelphia didn’t stop local children from running around the jungle gyms and basketball courts of Lawncrest Recreation Center. And the conditions certainly couldn’t squash the kids’ excitement for a dip in the rec center’s pool.

    But from the hardwood to the concrete to the blades of grass to the water, there was a special sense of excitement all afternoon.

    That’s because, in addition to the American Dairy Association North East and a dairy farmer, local officials and dignitaries and news crews were on hand as Philly kicked off its 2019 Summer Meals program. 

  • Lawncrest planning July 4 party

    June 28, 2019 | The 104th Lawncrest 4th of July Celebration will feature a day of activities.

    Children 12 and under are invited to take part in a decorated bicycle contest. Kids should decorate their bikes in red, white and blue and bring them to the parking lot at Rising Sun and Devereaux avenues at 8:30 a.m.

    The parade will start at 9 a.m. and travel south on Rising Sun Avenue from Longshore Avenue to Comly Street. The grand marshals will be members of St. William Parish, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. A Christmas in July float will be part of the parade. Santa Claus will hand out candy canes during the parade and will be available for selfies at the Lawncrest Recreation Center.

    An American flag-raising ceremony, featuring the St. William choir, will follow in the grove near the library.

    The day will feature games, prizes, a magician and T-shirt sales.

    Other activities, all taking place at the recreation center, will include a flea market (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), food court (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), car show (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), children’s rides (10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), live musical entertainment (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), bingo (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), raffles (drawn at 4:30 p.m.) and fireworks (9:15 p.m.).

  • Rebuild Awards $9.5 Million for Upgrades to Lawncrest Library and Rec

    June 24, 2019 | Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman and Councilmember Cherelle Parker announced the award of a $9.5 million grant to carry out major renovations to the Lawncrest Library and Recreation Center. The improvements coming to Lawncrest will include repairs to the beloved pool, investment in a computer lab in the library, and critical ADA compliance upgrades. Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, Rebuild is a signature initiative of Mayor Jim Kenney’s, committing hundreds of millions of dollars to improve parks, recreation centers, and libraries in neighborhoods across the City.  

    “Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Philadelphia’s neighborhoods by investing in parks, recreation centers, and libraries,” said Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman. “The Lawncrest Recreation Center and Library are a social, athletic, and cultural hub of this community. We look forward to working alongside the community to plan improvements to the site that deliver a safe and welcoming place for residents to build skills, play sports, meet friends, and have fun.” 

  • Summer meals program keeps kids fed and fit

    June 19, 2019 | Archdiocesan Nutritional Development Services (NDS) joined the Mayor’s Office of Education and other area agencies in kicking off summer with cold milk and a commitment to ensure area children eat healthy.

    The 2019 Summer Meals Program officially was officially opened at a June 18 ceremony held at Philadelphia’s Lawncrest Recreation Center. Mayor Jim Kenney, former Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant and Brooke Mullen, assistant director of community relations for NDS, were among those who spoke about the importance of the initiative.

  • Dive Into Philly Pools - Cool off with our list of family-friendly pools in the city

    June 17, 2019 | Now that school is out, it’s time to figure out where to cool off — and while away an afternoon. Philly is brimming with great playgrounds and recreation centers that have pools open to the public, so gather up the family for a day of fun in the sun and dive into one of these cool Philly pools. 

    City pools open on a rolling basis. Please note: Fishtown and Sayre Morris pools are closed for the season. Click on each pool for their hours and features.

  • Everything you need to know about Philly’s free public pools

    June 17, 2019 | The summer swim season kicks off Monday with some help from Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt.

    The Major League Baseball Hall-of-Famer will join Mayor Jim Kenney host a kickoff event at the newly restored Bridesburg Recreational Center pool. The pool recently underwent a $3.7 million renovation and reopens Monday at 2:30 p.m.

  • Black and Brown Maternal Health Fair at Kingsessing Recreation Center

    June 5, 2019 | Black and Brown Maternal Health Fair at Kingsessing Recreation Center

    The Black and Brown Maternal Health Fair will be held June 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kingsessing Recreation Center, 4901 Kingsessing Ave.

    The free health fair hosted by nurses Crystal Hawkins and Doula Shillingford, focuses on presenting options available to women throughout the birthing process and postpartum. The event features information from local midwives, doulas and lactation consultants.

  • School's Out for Summer! Keep Cool at a City Pool, Sprayground, and Your Neighborhood Library!

    June 4, 2019 | Today marks the last day of classes for School District of Philadelphia teachers and students and the beginning of summer break!

    Most thoughts and activities will turn to the outdoors, and when it's time to keep cool from that sweltering sun, you'll want to know where your nearest neighborhood pools and spraygroundsare located. This year, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s 74 outdoor pools will open on a rolling basis beginning June 17 through June 28. Don't know how to swim? There will be free swim lessons available this year as well!

  • Kids need bathing suits at the rec center? She bikes to the store to buy them

    June 1, 2019 | Every summer, when Philadelphia Parks and Recreation opens its 72 neighborhood poolsto hundreds of thousands of visitors, staffers face a dilemma:

    A lot of kids don’t own bathing suits. They arrive wearing dirty shorts, or khakis fraying at the knees, or the sweat-soaked cutoffs they just played basketball in. The thing is, city policy forbids children to be in the water without proper swimming attire. Frayed fabric can clog a pool’s filters. Dirty suits, nonregulation swim diapers, or bacteria-harboring fabrics can throw off chlorine levels, creating a health hazard.

    So what’s a rec-center director to do?

    If you’re Oktavia Cherry, director of Athletic Rec Center at 26th and Master Streets, you jump on your bicycle and pedal to Walmart, where the manager knows you well. And you use your own money to buy bathing suits, trunks, swim-safe diapers, towels, and flip flops so kids from homes without resources can enjoy a cool dip in clean water on a sweltering summer afternoon.

  • Five facts about Parks & Rec pools

    May 29, 2019 | This year, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s outdoor pools will open on a rolling basis from June 17 until June 28. 

    Here’s what you need to know:

    1. Our pool season will kick off at Bridesburg Pool on Monday, June 17.

    2. Pool opening dates will be announced soon. Use our Finder app to find a pool near you.

    3. Free swim lessons are available at our outdoor pools this summer. Search for lessons near you.

    4. Parks & Rec is still hiring lifeguards to keep our pools safe this summer. To become a lifeguard, you must attend a screening and lifeguarding course. Find out how to get started.

    5. Suit Up for Summer is a citywide campaign to collect and distribute new swimwear and swim accessories for Philly’s youth. Contribute to our swimwear drive.

    Check out the free swim lessons available at every City pool!

  • 10 Best Splash Pads and Spraygrounds for Philly Kids

    May 29, 2019 | As our beloved DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s eternal summer jam told us all those years ago, you don’t need to leave the city (or even the pavement) to beat the Philadelphia heat. School’s out, the days are long and hot, but we’ve got you covered with some summertime fun. A great thing about summer in Philly is that we have so many great places to splash around when the temperature is climbing and the kids are getting sweaty and restless. Just grab a towel (and swim diapers) and hit up one of our favorite splash pads and spraygrounds in Philly.

  • Suit up for summer! Parks & Rec hosts swimwear drive

    May 29, 2019 | Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is leading a citywide campaign to collect and distribute new swimwear and swim accessories for Philly’s youth. Our public pools will open soon, and we want to ensure our kids are suited up for the summer.

    This summer, Parks & Rec is collecting new swimwear and swim accessories at six sites. All donated bathing suits and accessories will be distributed to children at the City’s outdoor pools.

    We are collecting:

    • Youth and adult bathing suits (all sizes)

    • Swim diapers (all sizes)

    • Flip flops (all sizes)

    • Beach towels

    • Goggles

    Please note that we are accepting new items with tags only. Used items will not be accepted.

    Donations can be dropped off at one of these six locations:

  • City updates rebuild progress at fishtown recreation center

    May 29, 2019 | The Fishtown Recreation Center is a 1.4-acre site.

    Like many recreation centers across the City, the rec center’s facilities need major investment for modernization and repair. The playground is over 30 years old, and “Swimmo”—the recreation center pool—has been closed due to plumbing failures.


    Rebuild will partially fund a new playground, as well as a new roof for the outdoor hockey rink. The public pool will be completely redesigned and rebuilt. The playground groundbreaking took place in March 2019.

  • Camp Philly scholarship deadline is june 30!

    May 20, 2019 | Every child should get to experience sleep-away summer camp. Camp Philly offers a low-cost option for Philadelphia residents.

    Opened in 1948, Camp Speers is a 1,100-acre property with a 40-acre private lake. Under the guidance of positive adult role models, campers participate in a wide range of activities.

    To apply for a Camp Philly scholarship valued at $900, you must submit a completed application to your recreation leader, along with the $30 application fee by June 30. The application fee is the only cost to attend the camp. Your $30 will be refunded if a scholarship is not granted.

  • Rebuild Awards $10 Million Grant for Improvements to Olney Rec Center

    May 17, 2019 | Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilmember Cherelle Parker announced the award of a $10 million grant to carry out major renovations to the Olney Recreation Center. Made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax and a signature initiative of Mayor Jim Kenney’s, Rebuild is committing hundreds of millions of dollars to restore parks, recreation centers, and libraries in neighborhoods across the City.  

    “Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Philadelphia’s neighborhoods by investing in parks, recreation centers, and libraries,” said Mayor Kenney. “The Olney Recreation Center is a hub of this community, and we need to invest in this site so that it remains a safe and productive place for the kids here to play sports, meet friends, and have fun.”

  • At last, the Bridesburg Recreation Center gets its new pool

    May 17, 2019 | For the first time since the 1950s, the Bridesburg Recreation Center finally has a brand new pool. After spending all of last year under construction, the new pool at Bridesburg Rec will be dedicated by the city on its opening date, June 17, said Alain Joinville, spokesperson for the city’s parks and recreation department. The event will be attended by Mayor Jim Kenney and City Councilman Bobby Henon. Unlike the last pool, this pool is ADA accessible. No longer will residents have to climb the four concrete steps to get to the pool, since this one sits several feet lower than the last one. There’s even a ramp for people in wheelchairs now.

  • Community celebrates renovated West Mill Creek Recreation Center

    May 16, 2019 | A ribbon cutting to dedicate a renovated West Mill Creek Recreation Center was held Thursday night.

    The community gathered to see upgrades to the once-aging and dilapidated building.  Inside a new HVAC system, kitchen and ADA accessible bathrooms. Also new windows, doors and a new roof.

    "It's a new beginning," said Kimberly Morris. She says her two daughters use the center and playground here every day.

  • May 2019 Update: Rebuild is on the move!

    May 14, 2019 | Rebuild projects are fully in motion, with work already begun on 24 of the 64 sites approved by City Council for Rebuild funding. Rebuild is Philadelphia’s historic investment in the city’s parks, recreation centers, and libraries.  Some projects will involve major overhauls, while others will receive more minor but still crucial repairs. Experienced nonprofits have been awarded multi-million-dollar grants to carry out renovations at these sites. Conversations with residents will help determine what upgrades and improvements will be made to each park, recreation center, or library.

  • A new beginning for Vare Recreation Center

    May 13, 2019 | On May 4th, Vare Advisory Council President Yasmeen Porter and Vice President Warren Bethea, stood with Naima, Mayor Jim Kenney, Council member Kenyatta Johnson, and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell to celebrate the start of a $14 million upgrade to Vare. In addition to serving on the advisory council, Yasmeen also runs a year-around gymnastics program for girls age 4-15. 

    Football coach and community leader Warren sees the impact the rec has on kids’ lives everyday. Whether it’s basketball drills, swim lessons, or girl scouts, the center offers young people a safe place to build their skills and make meaningful relationships with peers and mentors.

    “Three years in, and our football program is going strong,” he explained. “The kids love it and it means Vare sports keep them busy and active at the site all year – football in the fall, basketball when it gets cold, and of course the pool all summer. With the investment, maybe we can get a new turf field and start hosting games here.”

  • Water Tower Rec Center gets a cleanup by Comcast

    May 8, 2019 | The century-old Water Tower Recreation Center in Chestnut Hill is looking a lot brighter this week after the second annual cleanup by volunteers with the Comcast Cares initiative.

    The central structure of this popular recreation center at 209 E. Hartwell Ln. was built about a century ago on the site of the former pump station for the nearby century-and-a-half- old water tower visible from Ardleigh Street.

    After Keith Kunz, president of the Water Tower Advisory Council, started talking about organizing a community cleanup day of the popular but somewhat neglected recreation center, his wife, Krystin Kunz, a project manager at Comcast, mentioned it might be a good project for the company’s Comcast Cares volunteering event.

  • Capitolo gets an upgraded playground with more upgrades to come

    April 25, 2019 | Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilman Mark Squilla joined Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell Monday to celebrate the ribbon cutting of a new playground at Capitolo Park and Playground in East Passyunk. They also announced that the park would receive a new investment in the near future as part of the city’s Rebuild program.

    The first stage of the Rebuild improvements at Capitolo will be the installation of critical security cameras. Rebuild is the city’s initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. The program is funded by the city’s soda tax passed in 2016.

  • Harris Named Finalist for Seasonlong NBA Community Assist Award

    April 24, 2019 | In six short weeks as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, Tobias Harris has been making an impact both on and off the court.

    Thursday at the Shepard Recreation Center in West Philadelphia, he hosted a panel of inspirational and powerful women from the Philadelphia community that addressed a group of 40 middle school aged girls.“It was a great atmosphere and a great experience,” Harris said. “I was in awe up there, just listening.”

  • Love Your park week, May 11-19

    April 24, 2019 | Philly organizations such as the Fairmount Park ConservancyPhiladelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Park Friends Network offer grateful-for-nature opportunities and events throughout the year, so we can show our ecosystem love 24/7. This year, these three local environment leaders have again joined forces to host Love Your Park Week. The nine-day “clean and green” celebration, taking place May 11th through May 19th, strives to revitalize the 100 public green spaces in and around Philadelphia.

  • Rodriguez Awarded Heitzman Rec Center Rebuild Project

    April 12, 2019 | Rodriguez in partnership with IMPACT Services Corporation (IMPACT) is excited to announce that our team was recently awarded grant funds by Rebuild to manage major renovations at the Heitzman Recreation Center in the Harrowgate section of Philadelphia. The Heitzman Recreation Center sits on a 3-acre site in the diverse neighborhood of Harrowgate and is comprised of a building (rec center), playgrounds, pool, basketball court, and hockey rink. The center currently serves as a staple in the community, offering a range of activities, such as art and cooking classes, homework assistance, organized kids games, and community fundraising events.

  • Rebuild project: Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center

    April 9, 2019 | “This center is the heartbeat of the neighborhood, and it has been that way since I was coming here as a girl,” said Odessa Tate, program director who spends her evenings and weekends leading after school clubs and summer camps at the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center in Strawberry Mansion. “We might see about 150 kids a week walk through these doors.”

    Despite major issues with the aging facility, the 102-year-old center is a second home to many of the neighborhood kids, who play basketball with Coach Ed Kookie Flythe, known as Coach Kook (pronounced “cook”); or do homework after school with Ms. Khadijah in the computer lab; or pick up fresh fruit and healthy snacks regularly replenished by the Recreation Center’s Advisory Council. 

    Last month, Rebuild awarded North Camden nonprofit Beech Interplex a $12 million grant to lead work to renovate, modernize, and completely redevelop Cecil B. Moore into a world-class facility. 

  • Rebuild Announces $13.8 Million for Philadelphia Recreation Centers

    March 24, 2019 | has announced commitments totaling $13.8 million in support of efforts to transform community spaces in Philadelphia. The grants include $12 million to Beech Interplex to completely renovate and modernize the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center in North Philadelphia, and $1.8 million to IMPACT Services for a renovation of the Heitzman Recreation Center in the Harrowgate neighborhood. The nonprofits overseeing the projects have committed to the diversity targets set by Rebuild, including a requirement that 25 percent to 30 percent of all spending on professional services contracts and 30 percent to 35 percent of all spending on construction projects be awarded to minority-owned businesses.

  • Markward FUNdraiser!
    Saturday, April 13th, 3-5pm @ Callahan's Grille (2615 South Street)

    March 24, 2019 | We are working to make Markward a thriving community hub that provides enrichment, fun and neighbor connectivity in the greater Fitler Square community. We need your help!

    Support Markward and enjoy a fun afternoon out at Callahan's Grille (2615 South Street) from 3-5pm on Saturday, April 13th. Tickets include entry, light fare, food and drink specials, and live music by the local 2400 Panama St. band, The Panamaniacs! $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Kids under 12, $5. Kids under 2, free. All proceeds go to toward important neighborhood programming, including need-based summer camp scholarships

  • Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center To Undergo Major Renovation

    March 23, 2019 | There is good news for Philadelphia’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. The Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center will undergo a major renovation. Mayor Jim Kenney, city council president Darrell Clarke and residents were on hand Saturday for the kickoff of the multi-million project.

  • Philly’s high demand for public spaces requires creative funding solutions | Opinion

    March 22, 2019 | We want our public spaces to do more, perhaps now more than ever. We have more people using public spaces and our seasons are getting longer, with earlier springs and hotter summers. People expect them to be maintained at exceptional levels and be programmed with free and diverse activities. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is responsible for striking a balance between these demands and opportunities in support of an inclusive and sustainable citywide system of parks, rec centers, and playgrounds in every neighborhood.

    The question remains: If we want public spaces to do more for the benefit of allPhiladelphians, how do we pay for it?

  • Rebuild: Strengthening Neighborhoods Across Philadelphia

    March 21, 2019 | Recreation centers, libraries, and parks are central to the fabric of Philadelphia’s communities.  They connect the city’s residents to the natural world, to each other, and to opportunities to improve health and wellness.    They advance literacy, guide learning, inspire curiosity, provide a safe place for children and youth to learn, create, and so much more. In communities that face high rates of poverty, drug crimes, and health risks, they may also be one of the few places of safety.  Despite the conditions, communities have fought to preserve and protect these spaces, but they deserve more.

    This week Rebuild announced the first grant awards to nonprofit partners, granting a total of $13.8 million for major improvements to the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center in North Philadelphia and the Heitzman Recreation Center in Harrowgate.  Beech Interplex, Inc. will carry out the project to completely renovate and modernize the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center and playground. Harrowgate-based nonprofit IMPACT Services will deliver an improvement project at the Heitzman Recreation Center.  The city also announced plans to start improvements on the playground at Miles Mack, with community engagement efforts beginning later this month.

  • creation Center in North Philadelphia is getting a makeover

    March 13, 2019 | While the facility's outdoor space boasts colorful paint and community-inspired murals, its play features are outdated and in poor condition. The new space will include play structures for children and toddlers, a walking and jogging loop, a basketball court, and a spray ground for the community to enjoy, as well as lush tree cover.

    Located one block from the Adaire School in the Fishtown neighborhood, both projects will bring new vibrant green spaces to this park-poor community. Once complete, the projects will provide opportunities for play, exercise and learning for nearly 9,000 residents who live within a ten-minute walk of "the Rec".


    March 8, 2019 | City Councilman Brian O’Neill (10th District) has announced that the Parks and Recreation Department is now hiring summer lifeguards. Interested applicants must be 16 years or older to work as a lifeguard for the City of Philadelphia. To be considered for a position, you must also pass a lifeguard screening given by a water safety instructor and complete a lifeguard certification course at either Lincoln Pool or Pickett Pool.

    For more information about the program, please call or visit one of Councilman O’Neill’s five full-time offices: Rhawnhurst at 7522 Castor Avenue (215-685-0438); Fox Chase at 432 Rhawn Street (215-685-6431); FOP Lodge #5 Headquarters at 11630 Caroline Road (215-437-9167); Bustleton & Bowler above the 7th Police District (215-685-0432); City Hall (215-686-3422).

  • Rabb seeks nominations for 'phenomenal women'

    March 1, 2019 | State Rep. Chris Rabb is calling on his constituents to nominate a woman from the 200th Legislative District who is making in a difference in the community, home or at work.

    Rabb will honor these women during a luncheon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 15 at the Pleasant Recreation Center, 6757 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. The media is invited to attend.

    The luncheon also will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about state-related programs that could benefit them and their families.

    Rabb said constituents can nominate a phenomenal woman by visiting his website at, or by calling his office at 215-242-7300.

    The deadline for nominations is March 11.

  • Fire damages playground under renovation in Logan

    February 23, 2019 | A community wants answers Saturday night after a fire damaged a playground that's been under renovation for nearly two years.

    Philadelphia fire officials say they were called to the Stenton Park Playground just before two this afternoon.

    They were able to quickly get the fire under control.

    Investigators have not confirmed how the fire started but community members say it was intentionally set.

    "Today about an hour ago, what happened as you see in the background, kids were playing here, and they set this fire," said Curtis McAllister, Stenton Park Advisory Council treasurer.

    The city originally broke ground on the $2.8 million project to renovate the playground and recreation center in June 2017.

  • Cake decorating class at Northeast Philly rec center helps kids connect

    February 9, 2019 | Eleven-year-old Catherine LeCompte knows exactly what she wants to do with her future. 

    "When I grow older, I want to be a baker," she said.

    For the last two years, she has been taking cake decorating classes every Thursday at the Picariello Recreation Center in Northeast Philadelphia.

    "I just like to bake and decorate and stuff," she added, "so I think (the class) helps me a lot."

  • Philadelphia Students Join With General Building Contractors Assn. & Local Organizations to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day

    February 4, 2019 | Contractors from the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) and other organizations participated with Philadelphia high school students in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day.

    Students from ACE Mentor Program received a lesson in volunteerism and a glimpse into a potential career in the construction industry with members of the GBCA and other organizations as they spent the morning helping build cedar trash containers at the Kingseeing Recreation Center in southwest Philadelphia.

  • Philly’s getting its first public statue of an African-American girl

    January 21, 2019 | This spring, South Philly’s Smith Recreation Center will become home to a life-sized bronze of a middleschooler playing basketball, frozen in a decisive moment as she guards the ball from opponents unseen.

    The installation is the capstone of a handful of upgrades rolled out at the rec center in the last few years, a renovation spearheaded by former Eagle Connor Barwin’s community development nonprofit Make the World Better.

  • Kicking the notion: Fairhill gets a bad rap. But there’s a whole lot of good coming from an unlikely source

    January 17, 2019 | Since its inception, AC Fairhill’s travel team has been nomadic, serving as the away side in all of its matches. Although, it’s found a practice spot at the 12th & Cambria Recreation Center. The space and private resources in funding to make it a solid home for the team and discussions are underway with officials at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

    “From Day 1, the folks at the rec center have been like ‘mi casa, su casa,’” said Landry. “We’ve been using 12th & Cambria because we don’t have a home field, and even though we can’t play our home games there, it’s home, it’s in that 19133 ZIP Code. The kids that join our program get to play in their own neighborhood, have that sense of identity and pride, for better or worse.” 

  • 3 Cheers To Rec Center’s Cheryl Hardy

    January 17, 2019 | For the past 40 years, Cheryl Hardy has been an institution here at the Hank Gathers Recreation Center in North Philly.

    “She’s like a pillar to the whole community,” said co-worker George Major.

    The rec center provides after-school programming and activities for the youth in the neighborhood.

    “Do you say this is a safe haven for them?” asked CBS3’s Chandler Lutz.

    “You can see it in their faces,” Cheryl said.

    Cheryl is the center’s specialist instructor. She helps creates programs based on the community’s needs.

    “Every day when the kids come in my front door, they come in and just give me a hug and they say, ‘How’s your day?’ And I say, ‘My day is great. How’s yours?'”

    In her time, she has led multiple drives, created experiences, helped with homework, and got kids out on the court. But her daily routine goes far beyond her job description.

    “They just sometimes come in and say, ‘Aunt Cheryl, I need to talk,'” Cheryl said. “I’m in here sun up to sundown. And I don’t get paid for sun up to sundown. But I’m here. My heart is here.”


    January 14, 2019 | The Philadelphia Foundation has announced 43 projects selected for $1,000 “Activate” mini-grants to help transform ideas generated during last year’s On the Table Philly into tangible initiatives that will improve the Greater Philadelphia region.

    Cobbs Creek Recreation Center Advisory Council – Individuals experiencing homelessness will create and sell art pieces to earn money and skills to get back on track to productive citizenry.


    January 11, 2019 | In conjunction with U.S. Lacrosse Week in Philadelphia and to continue their mission of growing the sport of lacrosse, Under Armour and the Wings have donated a variety of lacrosse equipment to the Kingsessing Roadrunners Lacrosse Club.

    In October, the Roadrunners discovered that mold had affected about 50-60% of their lacrosse equipment while it was stored away in their recreation center. Since then, the club has been working to build their equipment inventory back up for the spring season.

  • Philly basketball program for girls focuses on skills off and on court

    January 7, 2019 | It's more than just a basketball game as registration is underway for a 20-week program for fifth- to 12th-grade girls in Philadelphia.  

    It's called HoopHers, and the program provides opportunities for female students to reach their potential on and off the basketball court.

    "It's 100 percent female led and its delivered by all female coaches, mentors and role models," said Randy Butler, the fund development and program coordinator with Philadelphia Youth Basketball.  
    "We really want to provide our girls just with a chance to connect with a mentor, also to meet new friends, develop and practice their on-court skills. But it's really important we can discuss specific issues specific to females," Butler added. 

    The program runs Jan. 14 through June 9. at the Cobbs Creek Recreation Center in West Philadelphia. The girls meet two nights per week or at a weekly extended Saturday session once a week.   

  • Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center’s Financial Education Summit, 9am - 2 pm February 9, 2019

    January 4, 2019 | This a free Financial Literacy summit that will provide the following financial topics:

    1. Cash Flow Management (Moving toward Financial Freedom)

    2. Life Insurance (What exists & how to protect your family)

    3. Retirement Planning (A look at the risks that today's retirees face & how to plan around them)

    4. Estate Planning (Best practices to leave what you want to who you want, when you want them to have it)

    Information is provided to the surrounding community & outside guests per RSVP. Lunch will be provided.

  • Need a Permit? Download the correct form here

    December 28, 2018 | Permit applications for conducting activities in Parks & Recreation areas. Use these permits to reserve space for a picnic, event, or game.

    To learn more about what Park & Rec has to offer, visit the Parks & Rec homepage.

  • Meek Mill fulfills kids’ holiday wishes — but son's wish is a tough one

    December 24, 2018 | It was the day before Christmas and word had spread fast that hip-hop superstar Meek Mill was returning to his old neighborhood to distribute toys.

    As the line formed in front of, and then stretched around, the block-long stretch of the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, children and parents wondered aloud as to what awaited them.

    The 15 Best Playgrounds in Philadelphia

    December 19, 2018 | Top five, according to Foursquare users: Smith Memorial Playground, Markward Playground, Franklin Square Park Playground, Palumbo Playground and Burke Playground. Created by Foursquare Lists.

  • City breaks ground on first Rebuild project

    December 13, 2018 | The ambitious city-wide Rebuild program made a serious step forward Thursday with its first groundbreaking at Parkside Fields. 

    The spot, which sits on Parkside Avenue, just to the north of West Philly is just the first out of an anticipated 64 spaces around the city that Kenney hopes to revitalize with the program. Rebuild aims to invest $500 million garnered by the Philly’s controversial soda tax into improving playgrounds, parks, libraries, and recreation centers across the city.

  • Strawberry Mansion residents reimagine Mander Recreation Center and its Campus

    December 5, 2018 | On a recent Monday night at Mander Recreation Center, dozens of Strawberry Mansion residents gathered around tables, stacks of “dollar” bills in hand. Amid lively conversation, each community member began to shell out their money onto the table. 

    The residents were immersed in a game called Invest in Mander, and their currency was “Mander Bucks.” The goal of the game was to see what Strawberry Mansion residents most wanted to see and invest in at Mander Playground and Recreation Center.

  • Curfew Hours For 7 Philadelphia Parks Shifting Dec 1 To March 31

    November 30, 2018 | The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department announced it is closing several parks earlier thorough late March.

    Effective Dec. 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019, the Wissahickon Valley, East and West Fairmount Park, Cobbs Creek Park, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, Tacony Creek Park, and Pennypack Park areas of the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation system will be closed daily from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

    All trails, parking lots, and other areas in these parks will be closed to all pedestrian, bicycle, equestrian, and vehicular traffic.

  • 10 things to do at Parks & Rec locations for under $10

    November 28, 2018 | When it comes to activities in the city, sometimes things can get pricey. That’s why we created a list of 10 things you can do for under $10 at Parks & Rec locations this winter. Whether you’re looking to stay active in the cold or pick up a new hobby, there are options for everyone.

  • North Philly/Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Litter Control Plan Community Meeting

    November 28, 2018; @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Live, work or play in the area of 33rd St. to Broad St. and Cecil B. Moore Ave. to Lehigh Ave? We want to work with you to prevent litter and beautify North Philadelphia/ Strawberry Mansion!

    Join the City and partners to help develop solutions to litter and illegal dumping in your neighborhood. The City will work with you to develop a Neighborhood Litter Control Plan. The plan will focus on illegal dumping, litter and household dumping, and beautification.

  • Wolf Administration Celebrates New State Funding for Renovation of McCreesh Recreation Center

    November 20, 2018 | The McCreesh Recreation Center, located in the Elmwood neighborhood of Philadelphia, was approved for a $200,000 grant from the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program (GTRP). The 5.3-acre site is the only recreation facility within a reasonable travel distance for many local residents and offers a skate park, large sports field, basketball courts, a playground, and multi-purpose building. It also hosts several after-school programs such as homework aid, a dance and gymnastics program, and a summer day camp.

    The project renovation includes a new roof, HVAC unit for heating and cooling, bathrooms, kitchen, interior paint, and interior and exterior LED lighting. The total project cost is approximately $240,000.

  • $97.9M for first Rebuild projects

    November 19, 2018 | The Kenney Administration will spend nearly $100 million on the first two rounds of projects tied to the half-billion dollar initiative to repair community spaces throughout Philadelphia.

    The taxpayer-funded project, Rebuilding Community Infrastructure, or Rebuild, will fund 13 projects for an estimated $97.9 million, said Rebuild spokesman David Gould in an email. The city also revealed further updates about start dates and community engagement plans.

  • Philadelphia announces second round of rebuild sites

    November 14, 2018 | The parks chosen for round 2 are Barrett Playground (Fern Rock), Kingsessing Recreation Center & Library, Lawncrest Recreation Center & Library, McPherson Square Library (Kensington) and Rivera Recreation Center (Fairhill). 

    These projects are expected to officially launch in March 2019.

  • Hunting Park: Community Members Discuss Solutions to Neighborhood’s High Heat

    November 5, 2018 | Hunting Park residents and city officials discussed heat-related issues and solutions at the “Beat the Heat” design workshop on Oct. 18 at Esperanza’s headquarters, located at 4261 N. Fifth St. 

    Esperanza is a nonprofit organization that aims to strengthen the Hispanic community in Hunting Park through education, economic development and advocacy.

  • Mural dedication: tribune to marie dedny, october 24, 5 p.m.

    October 19, 2018 | Mural Arts Philadelphia, City Council President Darrell Clarke, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell are pleased to dedicate a new mural honoring Marie Dendy, an extraordinary neighborhood leader who devoted her life to improving her community.

    It is through her hard work that the Dendy Recreation Center was constructed and later renamed in her honor. 

  • Philly FOI adopt West Philadelphia rec center

    October 11, 2018 | The Mill Creek section of the city was the site of the infamous 2000 “Lex Street Massacre,” Philadelphia’s worst killing spree in modern history. It is in this area that the men of the Fruit of Islam (FOI) in the “West Squad” of Muhammad Mosque No. 12 decided to establish a community service project.

    According to squad member and assistant student secretary Rodney Muhammad, three years ago the squad approached Ms. Denise Cary, a rec specialist at the Mill Creek Recreation Center and asked her if the FOI could be of assistance and a bond was formed.  

  • 10 spooky Halloween events in Philly parks and rec centers

    October 9, 2018 | Our parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers are celebrating the spookiest month of the year with a variety of parades, hayrides, and other hauntingly fun events!

  • City officials detail renovations to Simpson playground

    September 27, 2018 | Residents at the Northwood Civic Association’s Sept. 18 meeting got a look at a $300,000 plan to overhaul the playground at Simpson Recreation Center.

    Seventh District Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez and representatives from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation presented designs for the project. Construction is expected to start in the spring, and the goal is to have the work completed by the summer, Quinones-Sanchez said.

  • Chestnut Hill Water Tower & Recreation Center Lecture

    Event on October 17, 2018 | Speaker Drew Brown of the Philadelphia Water Department will lead a lively discussion on the hidden history of the Chestnut Hill's beloved Water Tower Recreation Center complex. For many decades the complex has sustained the community as an important source of water, and also as one of the city's most active recreation areas.

  • Mantua: Despite Lack Of Funding, Miles Mack Recreation Center Continues On

    September 26, 2018 | Khadijah Muhammad, the on-site supervisor at the Miles Mack Recreation center, prepared about three dozen hot dogs for neighborhood children after school on Friday, Sept. 14. Every day, she makes lunch for children that come through the recreation center, located at 36th and Aspen streets.

  • Public Space Summit 2018: Saturday, october 27, 2018

    September 25, 2018 | The first ever Public Space Summit will gather and connect Recreation Advisory Councils, and Park and Library Friends groups from across Philadelphia for a day of inspirational, practical, and educational workshops and sessions. We’ll also announce a mini-grant opportunity for attendees to support new ideas/team ups. Registration is free.

  • Cephas secures $39,000 planning grant to revitalize the Tustin Recreation Center

    September 18, 2018 | State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced a $39,100 grant will jumpstart efforts to revitalize the Tustin Recreation Center and address its deteriorating conditions.

    The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program funding to hire a consulting team to complete two assessment phases:

    • Phase 1: Consists of site and building analysis and program assessment.

    • Phase 2: Includes design alternatives, illustrative site plan alternatives, prepare cost estimates for proposed improvements, and propose phasing options for proposed improvements.