Philadelphia, July 2, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Michael Diberardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources, and representatives from the Fairmount Park Conservancy launched the Pop-Up Pool Project at Francisville Playground yesterday afternoon. The project will introduce low-cost, high-impact design elements to make this City pool a vibrant place for neighbors to meet and relax.
Benjamin Bryant, Director of Planning & Design at Group Melvin Design, conceived of the idea for the Pop-Up Pool Project and submitted the proposal for grant funding to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Cities Challenge. The Group Melvin Design firm and Sikora Wells Appel landscape architecture firm designed the Pop-Up Pool Project features.
“Philadelphia has more than seventy pool and spray-grounds, making it easy for all Philadelphians to experience the joy of cool water on a hot summer day,” said Mayor Nutter. “The Pop-Up Pool Project at Francisville Playground has made this space an attraction so neighbors can enjoy a simple pleasure this summer. I thank Benjamin Bryant from Group Melvin for his work and the Knight Foundation for awarding the grant to make it a reality.”
The Pop-Up Pool Project features a custom designed lounge deck, canopies, family lounge with outdoor games and toys, and landscaping improvements. The project is one of seven recipients of the Knight Cities Challenge grants in the City of Philadelphia. The total grant awarded for the project was $297,000.
Thirty-two projects were chosen as winners of the first Knight Cities Challenge, sharing an award of $5 million to execute their projects. The 32 winners proposed creative ideas ranging from installing porch swings in public spaces, transforming vacant land into urban forests that produce trees to be replanted on city streets and in parks, to transforming the vacant space surrounding the recently closed, historic Edward Bok School in South Philadelphia into a new community living room.
“The Pop-Up Pool project shows that one creative idea, when nurtured, can change a neighborhood and our day-to-day lives for the better,” says Kathryn Ott Lovell, the Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. “The collaborative effort to enliven the public pool at Francisville Playground among project partners, community members and the Knight Foundation can serve as a microcosm for the future of public space endeavors in Philadelphia.”
All the winning projects focus on at least one of three drivers of city success: (1) Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest; (2) Opportunity: Ideas that create economic prospects and break down divides; (3) Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.
“Pools, being seasonal by nature, are in a way the original “pop-up” park, so the use of “lighter, quicker, cheaper” design improvements seemed like a perfect fit. Our hope is to help re-imagine a greater role for public pools in our neighborhoods, recognizing them for the true civic assets they are,” said Benjamin Bryant, Group Melvin Design.