Philadelphia, August 31, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin, members of the philanthropic organization Urban Roots, and community partners gathered to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a renovation project at Ralph Brooks Park, located at 20th and Tasker Streets. Led by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Philadelphia Water, the total cost of the project was approximately $450,000.
“Improving access to parks and recreational spaces is a long process which involves infrastructure changes, natural resource management, and the creation of healthy, sustainable spaces,” said Mayor Nutter. “As a city government, we have an obligation to provide these things for citizens. But we can’t do it alone – we rely on public-private partnerships to implement our plans for better neighborhoods, plans like TreePhilly, Green2015, Green City Clean Water and many others. Today is a wonderful example of the city partnering with community organizations and the private sector to restore a playground in a community that lacks abundant public play spaces.”
The park is named after former South Philadelphia resident Ralph Brooks. At the age of seven, Brooks was wounded at the park during a shooting in 1988 and left paralyzed. The incident galvanized the community to launch anti-violence efforts, and the park has carried his name since that time. Through his advocacy, Jahmall Crandall, Founder of I.am.SP (I am South Philadelphia), helped garner support for the renovations of Ralph Brooks park.
“This is an awesome example of how community leaders, organizations, and government can come together and create something great. Our young people deserve state-of-the-art, recreational spaces. As we aim to continue to enhance the quality of life throughout the 2nd Council District, let’s continue to collaborate and put the voice of our youth first,” said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.
Renovations included improvements to stormwater management infrastructure and playground equipment. The stormwater features include a rain garden at the southern end of the park, and an underground storage trench along its western side. A new tot lot play area, a new mural and community garden were installed and the basketball courts repaved.
“This partnership demonstrates that green infrastructure projects can manage stormwater and enhance community efforts to improve and beautify public spaces,” says Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug.
The project includes funding from Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Water, Councilman Johnson, Urban Roots, Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation, PhillyRising, Mural Arts Program and the 25th Foundation.
“Ralph Brooks Park perfectly exemplifies the goals of MTWB to support projects with strong community and youth involvement that have the power to positively affect a neighborhood. With construction now finishing up, we are all very eager to see the park become a special place for the entire community,” said Connor Barwin, Philadelphia Eagles player.
Additional project partners are the City’s Department of Public Property, Ruggiero & Plante Associates LLC, and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.