Mayor Nutter, City And School Officials Unveil Plans For Revitalized Schoolyard And Park In North Philadelphia

Philadelphia, October 30, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite, City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and The Trust for Public Land unveiled design plans for new green playgrounds at William Cramp School and Jose Manuel Collazo Park, two sites in the Fairhill neighborhood of North Philadelphia.  The project plans are part of the City of Philadelphia’s Green2015 initiative, Mayor Nutter’s comprehensive plan to significantly increase outdoor recreational opportunities and green infrastructure in underserved neighborhoods throughout the city. Green2015 partners include Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PP&R), the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), the School District of Philadelphia, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the Mural Arts Program.

“This is an exciting collaboration for the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “Working with our partners, we will be able to green places where our children play in neighborhoods that lack those amenities right now. Making Philadelphia the greenest city in America involves infrastructure changes and creating healthy, sustainable spaces. However, it is also about educating our children about the environment so that they are prepared to care for it in the future. I am confident these improved playgrounds will serve this community well.”

Plans for the William Cramp Elementary School will convert the 0.6-acre asphalt schoolyard into a new green playground with recreational and outdoor educational elements to serve 700 students from kindergarten through sixth grade. In September 2013, TPL led a participatory design process with more than 40 fourth and fifth grade students providing input about items they wanted featured in their new playground. The final design includes an outdoor classroom, a rain garden, a running track, a turf field, new play equipment and a performance space with outdoor musical instruments. Groundbreaking at the site is expected in February 2015 with a grand opening celebration to follow in the summer of 2015.

At Jose Manuel Collazo Park, a one-acre park one block away from the school, intense community use during the past 40 years has caused considerable wear and tear on park facilities, rendering some areas of the park unusable. Through a community design process led by TPL and PP&R staff, neighbors and park users envisioned new and improved play and recreation spaces for the site, including new basketball courts, a refurbished handball area, a new playground and a water sprayground for use by children during hot summer days.  The community also incorporated a shaded gathering area in the design. The park will feature stormwater management best practices including a rain garden and water storage areas under the basketball courts to absorb water, helping to advance PWD’s Green City, Clean Waters initative. Landscaped planting beds and trees will provide additional shade and a much-needed touch of natural space in the neighborhood.  Construction at Collazo Park is expected to begin in summer 2015, after completion of the William Cramp School playground.

“Safe, eco-friendly play areas invite children to explore the outdoors,” said Dr. William Hite, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent.  “We are excited about this project and look forward to a greater community.”

“This is a wonderful private, public collaboration that creates sustainable green spaces for families,” said Councilwoman Quiñones-Sánchez, who represents the 7th District.

This plan unveiling is another step forward for schoolyards and recreation centers in the City’s Green2015 program, which celebrated a major milestone this past summer with the opening of the newly redesigned William Dick Elementary School playground. When fully implemented, the pilot project will green 10 school playgrounds and city recreation centers throughout the city at a total cost of about $10 million, half of which is being funded by a combination of state, city, and school district sources. The Trust for Public Land is leading the effort to raise private contributions to fund the remaining costs. Lead private funders include the William Penn Foundation, The Otto Haas Charitable Trust, the National Recreation Foundation, Vert Charitable Trust, and other local supporters.  TPL, a nonprofit organization, will also establish a stewardship fund to assist with maintenance and programming for each site.

“When we launched the Green2015 action plan, our goal was to chart a course for action that would make our city more equitable, livable and competitive.  We again stand in partnership to make good on that goal through the greening and connecting of our community assets, parks and recreation centers and schoolyards,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor, Environmental & Community Resources/Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “With this partnership and the community, these sites will provide children and families with places for recreation and increase the attractiveness of our neighborhoods—all by taking affordable steps to transform land into publicly accessible green space. Green2015 is a smart choice, makes sense for Philadelphia, and we look forward to engaging with many partners to continue advancing this work.”

Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug said, “While our goal of installing rain gardens and other green amenities is to manage rain water, the added benefits it gives to our neighbors, our communities and our rivers are noteworthy. It gives the staff of Philadelphia Water tremendous pride when we can partner with others to help contribute towards projects that create greener, healthier places for children and adults while also doing our Number 1 job of making sure our water is clean and safe.”

Through its Parks for People–Philadelphia program, The Trust for Public Land is playing a key role in implementing the Green2015 Initiative to transform public land into neighborhood green spaces by 2015. The Trust for Public Land works with the City of Philadelphia to identify existing schoolyards and recreation centers as prime opportunities for conversion into greened play spaces and recreation areas.

“Thanks to the commitment of our city leaders and other supporters, the community’s designs presented here today will soon become a reality,” said Anthony Cucchi, The Trust for Public Land’s Pennsylvania state director.  “By playing a lead role in creating these new public spaces, students and families are not only ensuring that the improvements meet their specific needs – like more handball courts and outdoor performance spaces – but residents are also standing up to express their commitment to supporting and maintaining their park into the future.”


About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.  Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.  Learn more at


About Philadelphia Parks & Recreation

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of public land and waterways as well as through safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR helps Philadelphia’s children and other residents grow by connecting them to the natural world, to each other, and to fun, physical and social opportunities. For more information, find Philadelphia Parks & Recreation online at

About Philadelphia Water Department

Whether providing safe water for residents to drink, supplying water for industries to manufacture goods, or protecting the region’s water resources, the Philadelphia Water Department has been serving the Greater Philadelphia region with reliable, quality services throughout its nearly 200-year history. Through the innovative Green City, Clean Waters plan, PWD is providing a clear pathway to a sustainable future by protecting and enhancing our waterways through the use of green infrastructure. 


Anthony Cucchi, The Trust for Public Land, 917-797-3859,

Patrick Morgan, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, 267-438-7154,

Chanice N. Savage, School District of Philadelphia, 215-400-5227,

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

Mayor Nutter Statement On The Passing Of Mayor Thomas Menino

Philadelphia, October 30, 2014 –  Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the following statement on the passing of Boston’s longest serving Mayor Thomas Menino, who succumbed to his battle with cancer early this morning.

Thomas Menino, who was the President of Boston’s City Council, assumed the role of Mayor in 1993 when then Mayor Raymond Flynn was appointed ambassador to the Vatican by President Bill Clinton.  He was elected mayor in the fall of 1993 and served twenty years over five terms.  Mayor Menino is survived by his wife Angela, his children Susan and Thomas Jr. and his grandchildren.

Mayor Nutter’s statement is as follows:

“Mayor Menino was an incredible public servant, public leader and a champion of inclusive politics.  He steered Boston through ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies over his 20 year tenure as Mayor, and before while he served on Boston’s City Council.

He was a strong, focused, committed leader who did not shy away from difficult decisions.  He stood tall as an advocate for Boston’s many unique neighborhoods and for the future of the City as a whole.

Mayor Menino led the City of Boston with great dignity, innovation and a can-do spirit that will be missed by every citizen and politician whose lives he touched.  He was also a great friend to mayors all across the United States of America; he was always willing to offer guidance and advice to other mayors.

I had the opportunity on many, many occasions to talk with Mayor Menino about any number of issues that we faced here in Philadelphia and had the benefit of his insight and experience in trying to solve some of those challenges that our city, and other cities across the nation, face on a regular basis.  His partnership with our City was integral in the creation of New Urban Mechanics PHL, modeled after the original creative approach to problem solving Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston.

Mayor Tom Menino was a good and great man.  If you knew him, you knew that he believed a mayor should be a doer rather than a visionary.  But, the truth is, Mayor Menino was the best kind of politician – he made change, shaped his city, and he got things done.

Above all, Mayor Menino loved the people of Boston, he loved public service, and he will truly be missed for his leadership, his kindness and his sensible and practical approaches to often complicated and challenging issues.

My thoughts and prayers are with Angela, his wife, his children and grandchildren, and with the entire City of Boston during this devastating loss.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

City Of Philadelphia Releases Open Data Strategic Plan

Philadelphia, October 30, 2014 – The City of Philadelphia released the Open Data Strategic Plan, which evaluates the progress of the City’s Open Data policy using a comprehensive analysis called Open Data Census, and outlines the next phase in the City’s Open Data policy, including a broader data management strategy for the City.

“Since the creation of the Open Data Executive Order, our Administration has released more than 100 data sets – including high-value data sets like Part 1 crime.  We’ve worked hard to build a solid foundation for open data in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “But, we have more work to do. This Open Data Strategic Plan will be our guide for the next phase of Open Data in this great city.  It will help us reaffirm our goal of using open data to better inform citizens, improve service delivery and increase communication and data sharing between departments.  It will help us maintain a citizen-centric approach and improve the way we do business as a city.”

Richard Negrin, Deputy Mayor and Managing Director, said, “Open data creates opportunities for innovation around service delivery within city government and provides citizens the information they need to be more engaged.  This enables government, businesses, and citizens alike to develop new solutions to complex problems. While this strategic plan captures several success stories and use cases, we are only just beginning to see the impact of open data.”

Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski added, “It’s time for open data to grow beyond an initiative – it needs to be part of the way we do business as a government. We’ll get there by focusing on the general public as our customer, facilitating department ownership, and improving how we manage and share data in the first place.”

The Open Data Strategic Plan and the accompanying Open Data Census are available at

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

“Council, do your job on PGW” by Mayor Michael A. Nutter

This editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday, October 30, 2014:

After serving almost four terms in City Council, I have deep respect for its role in government as the People’s Hall, a place where matters of policy, large and small, are debated and then decided in public session with votes by its elected members.

For all the backroom discussions and the maneuverings of lobbyists and special interests, when it comes down to it, Council is the home of transparency, the place where those who want something from the city must stand up and make their case, where they must submit to sharp questioning of every nuance and detail.

It’s because of Council’s special role that all Philadelphians should be upset and disappointed with Council President Darrell Clarke’s stance opposing the mere introduction of a bill to sell the Philadelphia Gas Works and public hearings where the proposed purchaser, UIL Holdings Corp., could make its case and answer months of rumors, lies, and innuendo with facts.

And that’s the second reason Philadelphians should be upset: We have an opportunity to consider an asset sale that would create huge opportunities for new energy jobs, strengthen the city’s seriously underfunded pension system for retirees, and dramatically fix the aging network of gas mains below our streets.

But unless they read the fine print of the report Council released Monday, Philadelphians would not know that Council’s consultant, Concentric, concluded that the sale process was competitive and reasonable, that UIL’s proposal was the best bid, and that PGW’s value was lower than the $1.86 billion price.

Or that UIL explicitly agreed to assume all environmental liabilities related to PGW operations now and in the future.

The Council president asserted that Council conducted an “exhaustive review” of the proposed sale, and yet not a single element of this huge opportunity was submitted to the test of views and questions from Council members or the public in open session. No big city with hopes of attracting business, jobs, and investment conducts business in such a fashion. This is not leadership as we know it. It’s certainly not the history of the City Council that I know.

In its own very brief memo, Council commits a glaring error in describing one of the key terms of the deal: We project that the sale would provide net proceeds in the range of $418 million to $629 million. Council argues that the city would lose its $18 million per year “dividend” from PGW, and therefore the net proceeds would be $200 million to $400 million.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s assume the net proceeds are $500 million. By depositing that amount in the pension fund, the city would see tens of millions of dollars in net savings on how much it is required to put into the fund each year.

With these annual net savings, we’re going to do two things: First, cover the loss of the $18 million PGW dividend. Second, plow the remaining savings back into our pension fund, doing more than state law requires to strengthen a retirement fund that thousands of city employees, current and retired, depend on.

This plan, coupled with other pension reforms achieved by our administration, will move the pension fund into a healthy status more quickly and raise the funding level to above 50 percent within two years of the deposit.

The city general fund would be held harmless and the pension fund would be healthier. That is a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity. There is no other proposal that achieves both of these goals.

One more example of why we need an open, robust debate on this proposal: With more than 3,000 miles of aging cast-iron pipe, UIL has said it can dramatically increase annual replacement activities through long-term borrowing, something that PGW can’t do with its pay-as-you-go funding model.

What is Council’s proposal to improve infrastructure safety? It calls for a 50 percent rate increase on the funding source of the pipe replacement. Yes, PGW ratepayers, who already have the highest natural-gas rates in the commonwealth, would face an immediate rate hike under Council’s plan.

UIL, which has decided to continue to pursue this sale despite Council’s announcement Monday, offers another approach to infrastructure improvement, along with dozens of other proposals, all subject to change through the legislative process, which would protect consumers, our vulnerable citizens, and the employees of PGW.

But the only way that we’ll get to the truth about this proposed historic sale is for Council to introduce the bill, schedule hearings, give everyone a chance to be heard, and then let Council members do what they’re paid to do – explain where they stand, make choices, and then vote. That’s the way Philadelphia should conduct its business.

Posted in Press Release


Philadelphia, October 29, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter sent the following letter to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Historical Overview Committee at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and to Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, expressing his support for the inclusion of Richard “Dick” Allen on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.

At a press conference announcing his support, Mayor Nutter also encouraged Philadelphians to express their support for Dick Allen’s addition to the Golden Era ballot for the Hall of Fame.  “Write letters, make calls, start a social media campaign.  Do whatever you can to help this great baseball player and excellent person get the recognition he rightly deserves.  Let’s get Dick Allen into the Hall of Fame!”

For more information on the campaign to get Dick Allen into the Hall of Fame, please log on to

The text of the letter is as follows.

October 29, 2014

Dear Committee Members:

It is with great pleasure, pride, and anticipation, that I write this letter in support of the addition  of former Philadelphia Phillie (1963–1969; 1975–1976) and pioneering player, Richard Anthony “Dick” Allen, to the Baseball Hall of Fame Golden Era ballot.

Philadelphia is the fifth largest city in the country and one of the most dynamic sports cities in the world.  We are home to some of the most passionate and loyal baseball fans to be found anywhere in the nation—as our Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers can attest.

The nomination and induction of Dick Allen into the Baseball Hall of Fame would undoubtedly be an occasion for citywide celebration and inspire untold numbers of fans to visit the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  It would be impossible to adequately describe the impact that Dick Allen’s career has had on the language and knowledge of the history of baseball, America’s national pastime.

A truly great player and a powerhouse in the batter’s box, Dick Allen was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1964, his first full season with the Phillies..  Over the course of his career in baseball, he hit 351 homeruns.  As one of the most powerful hitters of all-time, the then Phillie is believed to have knocked the longest homerun ever hit out of Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium.  As the story’s told, the ball landed on Woodstock Street, a full block away from the Stadium.

During his career, Dick Allen was a seven-time Major League Baseball All-Star, a two-time American League Homerun Champion and an American League RBI Champ.  He was named the Most Valuable Player twice—once in the American League and once in the National League.

Dick Allen’s career game stats illustrate one aspect of his importance to baseball.  Who he was as a man and how that man served as a role model for players who would stand up for fair play both on the field and in their personal convictions in later years may be the most important standard by which he is measured.

On behalf of the citizens and baseball fans of Philadelphia, those who may remember those early career days—including my seven-year old self—and those for whom the legend of Dick Allen has been passed down from parent to child, I ask for your consideration of Dick Allen as a most deserving nominee to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Michael A. Nutter


Posted in Arts & Culture, Mayor's Press Releases, Neighborhoods, Press Release, Topics


WHO:            Mayor Michael A. Nutter

                        Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

Susan Kretsge, Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity

Dr. James Buehler, Health Commissioner, Philadelphia Public Health Department

                        Siobhan Reardon, President and Director, Free Library of Philadelphia


WHAT:          U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell, Mayor Nutter and City officials will participate in a discussion with Affordable Care Act (ACA) stakeholders and consumers.


RSVPs are required for this event.  Credentialed members of the media should RSVP to Alex Kotran (


WHERE:        Philadelphia Free Library, 1901 Vine Street, Rooms 406-407


WHEN:          Thursday, October 30, 2014                  11:30 AM    

Posted in Media Advisory

Mayor Nutter Opens Applications For Performances In Public Spaces

Philadelphia, October 28, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) announced that the City is accepting applications for Performances in Public Spaces – an initiative that provides grant money for artists and art organizations to cover all costs associated with presenting performances in select parks and plazas across the city in 2015. This initiative is made possible by the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia and a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a total of $60,000. The number of projects selected and award levels will be based on the number of applications and range of amounts requested.

“In the past, OACCE has animated City Hall with performances. Now, we will go beyond City Hall and bring performances to the people. It is important that art be accessible to everyone,” said Nutter. “We hope that these performances will enrich the lives of citizens and promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of the arts. I am pleased to support Performances in Public Spaces because I believe the project will strengthen Philadelphia’s reputation as a leader for public art and it will also highlight the potential of the city’s many neighborhood public spaces.

Depending on the applications submitted, OACCE anticipates that 10-15 grants of $500-$3000 per performance will be awarded. The grants can be used to cover artist fees, marketing, materials, production and other administrative costs incurred by the artist or group related to a specific performance or a performance series.

All performances must take place between April 1st and November 1st, 2015 at any of the 16 partner sites listed on the application. Applicants must include a letter of support from the selected partner site as proof of communication between the performers and the venue. Performances with a strong connection to the site and a measurable impact on enhancing the civic space are preferred.

Applications and all required attachments must be submitted online or delivered to the OACCE office, located in City Hall, Room 116, by 5:00 pm on December 1, 2014. Submissions will be reviewed by a committee of three City employees and three performing artists and/or arts administrators.

Helen Haynes, Chief Cultural Officer, said “Our office seeks to promote the thriving art scene in Philadelphia, expose more people to interesting programming and use of Philadelphia’s vibrant public spaces. We are excited for this opportunity to support place-based activities in neighborhoods and hope to jumpstart continued use of these spaces beyond this program.”

The OACCE has partnered with the following locations as participating sites: Campbell Square, Clark Park, Fairhill Square, FDR Park, Frankford Pause, Gorgas Park, Hawthorne Park, Hunting Park, Malcolm X Park, Marconi Plaza, Paine’s Skatepark, Race St. Pier, Saunders Park, Spruce Street Harbor Park, The Porch at 30th Street Station, Vernon Park.


For more information about OACCE visit:


Posted in Mayor's Press Releases
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