Fight for the Sugary Drinks Tax to Rebuild Our Parks & Schools!

PhiladelphiansForAFairFutureEven West Philly Bernie Sanders fans can get behind one of Hillary Clinton’s ideas!

Hillary Clinton has announced she is “very supportive” of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed Sugary Drinks Tax as the best way to rebuild the city’s bedraggled parks & recreation centers, as well as toget pre-K services for all young children.

The Democratic Presidential frontrunner told a packed forum in Philadelphia Wednesday evening: “I’m very supportive of the Mayor’s proposal to tax soda. I mean, we need universal pre-school. And if that’s a way to do it, that’s how we should do it.”

“This is major step forward for all Philadelphians who believe that we must invest in our children and in our neighborhoods, and we appreciate Secretary Clinton’s support for the plan to expand pre-K services throughout the city,” said Kevin Feeley, spokesman for Philadelphians for a Fair Future, the coalition of more than 50 citywide organizations supporting the proposed tax to fund investments in pre-K, community schools, & revitalized recreation centers, parks & libraries. “Her support helps the public understand that there is a critical need for these investments, and the proposed Sugary Drinks Tax is the fairest and most effective way to pay for them.”

The Sugary Drinks Tax is a means to pay for a bond issue that will lead to a $500 million investment to restore parks & education all across Philadelphia. It means jobs. It means families. It means growth. It means boosting real-estate values. It’s huge. We need it now.

solidly backs this creative public policy & urges all park-lovers to let City Council know they demand it. It’s time we ended a lifetime of neglect for Philadelphia’s precious green spaces! We’ve been cheated before; enough is enough.

Philadelphians for a Fair Future represents a growing coalition of organizations from all walks of life in Philadelphia, including: Public Citizens for Children and Youth; the Philadelphia Parks Alliance; the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Education Voters of Pennsylvania; the Service Employees International Union; Center for Popular Democracy; the Alliance of Community Service Providers; the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children; Men United for a Better Philadelphia; Ceiba; Action United; Aspira; the Center for Science in the Public Interest; FOP Lodge 5; Firefighters Local 22; District Councils 33 and 47, AFSCME; Youth United for Change; and multiple community-development corporations and small-business owners from throughout the city.

The coalition’s activities are focused on raising public awareness about the importance of the Mayor’s budget investments and the need to enact the Sugary Drinks Tax as the only fair way to pay for them.

Clark Park Soccer weather update

Because of the rain, today’s soccer sessions are cancelled, but we will still be doing walk-in registration and t-shirt pick up from 10:00 to 12:30 in Rosenberger Hall. Please note that teams for ages 5-7 are completely full; we are only accepting registration for children ages 8 to 11.

Work Day

Drexel freshman volunteers Brandon, Amal, Ali, Tom and Murphy

Drexel freshman volunteers Brandon, Amal, Ali, Tom and Murphy

Drexel volunteer Tyler hammers in a post

Drexel volunteer Tyler hammers in a post

The Flying Dutchman food truck

The Flying Dutchman food truck

Drexel freshman have volunteered several times this winter for park workdays. On March 5, a group  picked up trash and installed a low wood and rope fence along the bed by the HMS school.  Board member Kevin Kearney made the posts from a reclaimed fence.  It is protecting spring flowering bulbs, which are now starting to make their way up through the earth.  Please come visit this lovely site. On weekends, the Flying Dutchman food truck is often parked on Chester Avenue. The owner generously offered the volunteers lunch.

Cindy Roberts remembered – a transformative leader of Friends of Clark Park

Cindy Roberts dishing out her historically-accurate (& tasty) Victorian trifle dessert at Dickens' Birthday Party, 2011.

Cindy Roberts dishing out her historically-accurate (& tasty) Victorian trifle dessert at Dickens’ Birthday Party, 2011.

Cindy Roberts, a West Philadelphia lover and mother who led the Parent-Infant Center, before that Spruce Hill Neighbors Ass’n, & before that Friends of Clark Park, was remembered today at the historic Arch Street Friends Meetinghouse.

250 people turned out to remember Roberts, a talented journalist & savvy businesswoman who committed to West Philadelphia when West Philadelphia wasn’t fashionable. She raised a family here and helped transform her community by her hard-nosed, fierce intelligence & her sense of humor.

Roberts played a transformative role in developing the 2001 Revitalization Master Plan for Clark Park, which laid out a long-term investment plan amounting to $2 million. About 2/5 has been implemented so far – close to $1 million of public investment inspired & unleashed by Cindy. She taught West Philly how to look beyond parochial concerns & petty bickering, & build together a public space where all of us can advance ourselves & our city.

The park you enjoy & frolic on today is Cindy Roberts’ fruit. Remember that when next you set foot on its soil.

Our mission, as FRIENDS OF CLARK PARK, is to learn her lessons & to carry out her mission. In helping to build a park & keep it live, you are building & keeping your community alive.

Ours are the actions that will endure after Cindy’s actions have returned to dust. We who love Clark Park as she did, must make an extra effort to carry on her mission of raising West Philadelphia to what it deserves to become.

Clark Park’s Jan. 25 meeting will spotlight Philadelphia green space in the Kenney era

Planning now for spring ... & for many springs to come in Clark Park.

Planning now for spring … & for many springs to come in Clark Park.

The future of parks, recreation and green space – not just for Clark Park, but for Philadelphia as a whole – in the new Kenney Administration will be featured at FRIENDS OF CLARK PARK’S Winter Public Membership Meeting on Monday, Jan. 25.

Speaking on our panel will be our 3rd District Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell; the new Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, a West Philadelphian and a member of Friends of Clark Park; Parks & Recreation’s Stewardship Coordinator Patty-Pat Kozlowski; and our own Erin Engelstad of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, a private nonprofit that helps park supporters citywide.

We’ll meet at University of the Sciences’ Griffith Hall (the old building with the pillars) at 43rd & Kingsessing at 7 p.m. That’s an easy walk from four trolleys. The security guards at the booth can direct you to the door.

Philadelphia is undergoing a historic transition in its city government. A new mayor and lots of new blood on City Council mean that parks are open to major new directions (and new investment!) in 2016. FRIENDS OF CLARK PARK intends to promote this conversation for the good of all Philadelphians, as well as for our own beloved park. We understand that no park can achieve its potential until all parks are getting what they need.

What are the needs and problems our parks face going forward? What is their value to the community? What steps should the Kenney Administration take to make them better … starting at once?

West Philadelphians who care about their green spaces will find this a particularly valuable meeting to attend! We know your turf.

Want to learn more about FRIENDS OF CLARK PARK? Founded in 1976, we are 300 strong and we curate one of the liveliest public spaces in Philadelphia. We’re an all-volunteer group. We speak for the trees. We love our neighborhood. And we get things done.

Call FoCP Board Member Tony West (267) 456-5687, or email, with any questions.

December 6th Work Day

Thanks to volunteer Rachel Adler and Green Line Cafe, Love Your Park Day (November 14th) was a great success.  Rachel brought dozens of volunteers to do good work and the Green Line donated wonderful coffee and pastries.

There are still some bulbs left to plant, so we will have one more work day before the year ends.  Meet at 1 pm on Sunday December 6th by the shed (45th and Regent Streets).  We will plant bulbs and pick up trash until 4 pm.   Please bring a shovel or trowel if you have one.