Philadelphia, December 28, 2015 —Mayor Michael A. Nutter was joined by Connor Barwin, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker, Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and other community leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony to kick-off the renovation of Smith Recreation Center and its adjoining facilities in South Philadelphia.
“Every day, Smith Playground is one of South Philly’s largest and most active recreation sites,” said Mayor Nutter. “Hundreds of young people are engaged in positive and healthy activities at this facility, which is an important asset in a neighborhood that lacks abundant green space. I thank everyone who contributed to the cost of this renovation and look forward to seeing the project completed.”
The three-phase renovation project is sponsored by the City of Philadelphia, the Office of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Connor Barwin’s “Make the World Better Project”, Urban Roots, the NFL and the Tuttleman Family Foundation. When completed, the facility will include a renovated recreation center, basketball courts, playground, fitness trail, and a multi-purpose field surfaced with new turf. The project will also include the installation of green stormwater infrastructure by the Philadelphia Water Department.
“I want to thank Mayor Nutter for providing significant leadership and funding for the Smith Playground revitalization project.” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources. “The Mayor has been a strong supporter of recreational programming and green space throughout his administration.”
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said, “Our children need a safe place to play in their neighborhood. After these renovations are complete, Smith will provide a much needed space for children to play and exercise safely. All involved would agree that the kids in the 2nd District are the primary focus of this project. Smith Playground has the potential to be the model for future renovations of public space.”
Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin said, “The work at Smith Playground is beginning with the Recreation Center Building, the heart of Smith Playground. While staff does a great job utilizing their existing facilities, building improvements will increase usable space, and in turn the number of youth served throughout the year. The investment is critical to helping kids develop and ensuring the staff can continue their great work”.
About Urban Roots – Urban Roots, founded and led by Jeffrey Taube, works with communities to plan and implement urban redevelopment projects with a focus on youth mentoring, community engagement, public recreation and the arts.
About Make The World Better – Make The World Better (MTWB), is a non-profit organization formed by Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin. MTWB focuses on the belief that communities prosper when young people have access to athletics and the arts.