City of Philadelphia officials, Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin and community partners participated in a ceremonial ground breaking event for renovations to the Ralph Brooks Tot Lot at 20th and Tasker Streets in South Philadelphia.
“Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is excited to collaborate with Connor Barwin, Councilman Johnson, the PhillyRising Initiative, I Am South Philly and Urban Roots to renovate the Ralph Brooks Tot Lot,” said Michael Diberardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental & Community Resources. “This $450,000 renovation project will provide the Point Breeze community with a safe and inviting space to learn, connect and play.”
The Tot lot is named after former South Philadelphia resident Ralph Brooks. At age seven, Mr. Brooks was paralyzed during a shooting at the playground in 1988. The incident galvanized the community and the park has since carried his name as a symbol against violence in South Philadelphia.
Renovations to the Tot Lot include improvements to stormwater management features, a rain garden at the southern end of the park and an underground storage trench along its western side, and playground equipment. A new play area will be installed and the basketball courts will be repaved.
“These kinds of projects represent what is great about Philadelphia,” said Howard Neukrug, Water Commissioner. “Philadelphia Water welcomes this opportunity to partner with City Council, the community, private foundations and other city agencies to showcase how green stormwater infrastructure can protect our environment and our valuable water resources while providing real benefit back to the community.”
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said, “It is a statement that such a diverse group of partners have rallied around improving the Ralph Brooks Tot Lot. This is an investment which will bring multi-generations of our community together around a multifaceted recreational space.”
The project includes funding from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Philadelphia Water Department, the PhillyRising Initative, the Mural Arts Program, the Office of Councilman Johnson, Urban Roots, Connor Barwin’s ‘Make the World Better Foundation’ and 25th Foundation.
“When I became an Eagle, I became a Philadelphian,” Mr. Barwin said. “To me, that means caring about and investing in your community – which is the focus of the Make the World Better Foundation.”