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Groundbreaking at Carmella

On Tuesday, April 16th City Councilwoman Maria D. Quinones Sanchez led a group of the Carmella Recreation Center’s children symbolically breaking ground to start off the remodeling of the Rec Center’s Playground.

Over the Summer the Parks & Recreations Department will install much needed new playground equipment and a water park area.
This is Phase 1 of a $500,000 improvement for Carmella.
Neighboring Gambrel Recreation Center agreed to open their center for Carmella’s children to have programs during the remodeling period.
Stay tuned for the grand reopening ribbon cutting ceremony, coming soon, we pray.
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Carmella Playground Major Improvements

Kristin Wisniewski, Recreation Leader, welcomed the group to Carmella Playground on December 4th.  It was an informative and productive meeting for the 20 residents who attended to hear about plans for the facility.  The $500,000 project is being funded by a combination of City and State funds thanks to Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and State Representative Jason Dawkins.

There will be new equipment in the children’s play area, some adult fitness features too, new landscaping and a water feature for the warm weather.  It is an ambitious and much-needed upgrade that is planned to be finished by the start of the Summer, IF THE WEATHER COOPERATES.  If that schedule cannot be maintained, the project will be moved back to start up in the Fall.

Residents questioned how the project would be managed.  At present, areas of the Playground look like a construction zone.  One area of contention came from the users of the Whitehall Skate Park on the Torresdale Avenue side which is not included in this project.  The users feel that they should get some attention since it does get heavy use.  Some of the athletes involved are likely to be in contention for Olympic participation when Skateboarding becomes an Olympic sport in 2020.

Councilwoman Sanchez discusses the project

Councilwoman Sanchez responded that the park has only recently fallen into her Councilmatic District and she was not involved in the planning for this project.  However, as she has stated at other meetings involving recreation facilities, users have to become active participants in the advisory councils or Friends groups of these facilities in order to have a say in the future improvements.

The members of the skateboard group said they would become involved.  Also at the meeting were representatives of The Block Gives Back who are actively involved at the Playground and they will also look to become active on the Advisory Council.

The participants at the meeting approved the plan presented at the meeting with some suggestions and future communication with the participants will come via email.  Pictures below are some renderings of what the equipment will look like when the project is complete,

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Carmella Playground Community Meeting

An information meeting about major upcoming improvements!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at 6 PM at Carmella Playground, 2100 Wakeling Street, you are invited to hear Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and her staff talk about the plans for improvements to the playground.   They want to hear your feedback.


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Deni Playground Improvements Coming

Councilwoman Sanchez laid out plans for major improvements to Deni Playground at a community meeting on November 27th.

The project will completely rebuild the children’s play area at a cost of $345,000.  Work will start this Spring and should be completed early in the Summer.

The meeting at St. Marks’s was very well attended with families who brought their children to see what was in the plan.  In addition to Councilwoman Sanchez, State Representative-Elect Joe Hohenstein, and ward leader Dan Savage were present as well.

The improvements were welcomed by everyone but there were some questions about the use of the playground for the future.  Accessibility and security were concerns with past experience of 4 wheelers getting onto the field and tearing it up.  The children’s play area is always open but the field below is locked now and is closed annually between December and March.

Sanchez made a point that the Friends of Deni group is very important to the future of the playground.  Friends groups work with City officials to plan and communicate neighborhood concerns.  Future issues to be addressed are the tennis courts, bathrooms and improved lighting.

Slideshow from the meeting is below.  It shows some renderings of what the plan is now.

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Simpson Rec Renovation Phase 2

A large crowd turned out to hear the plans for the next phase of the renovation of Simpson Recreation Center on September 18th at the Northwood Civic Association meeting.

Councilwoman Sanchez makes her presentation

The first phase has already been completed with the repairs to the exterior of the building earlier this year.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez presented the plan to rehab the Tiny Tots area and install new equipment at a budgeted cost of $300,000 for the project.

Tiny Tots is at present not used because of the condition.

Although the crowd was generally pleased with the improvements, questions were about making improvements to the rest of the facility.  The basketball courts and baseball field get a lot of use and need improvement.

Illustration of the building showing new planting to the right of the entrance replacing equipment shown above.

Sanchez explained that this is the next phase in what must be a long-term plan and she would not make any promises that could not be kept.  She emphasized that the best way for stakeholders to make sure that plans of this type meet their needs is to actively be involved in the Advisory Council at the facility.  That group is part of the planning process.

Construction for the project will begin when the weather breaks in the Spring of 2019.

The next meeting of the Northwood Civic Association will be on October 16th at 7 PM at the Simpson Recreation Center, 1010 Arrott Street.