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! 

  • 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.

  • 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.