Mayoral Candidates Bare Their Positions on Parks

The Philadelphia Cultural Alliance & Parks Alliance teamed to host a mayoral panel discussion at the Free Library last Monday. It was the best chance for park supporters to hear the candidates’ thoughts on parks.

Phila. Parks Alliance Exec. Dir. Lauren Bornfriend introduces mayoral panel on parks & culture at Central Free Library. Jim Kenney, Tony Williams, Lynne Abraham & Melissa Bailey were on stage then; Nelson Díaz & Doug Oliver arrived shortly thereafter.

Phila. Parks Alliance Exec. Dir. Lauren Bornfriend introduces mayoral panel on parks & culture at Central Free Library. Jim Kenney, Tony Williams, Lynne Abraham & Melissa Bailey were on stage then; Nelson Díaz & Doug Oliver arrived shortly thereafter.

Lynne Abraham pressed her fondness for Independence Mall as the ideal park. She hailed the influx of private-charity money from the Knight Foundation & the William Penn Foundation as the best way to fund park improvements. Current PPR Deputy Mayor Mike DiBerardinis is “a keeper,” in her words, whom she would seek to retain as Mayor.

Melissa Bailey, the Republican candidate, runs her 4-year-old child in Starr Garden’s youth-soccer program. She insisted that education comes first in the City budget but said the PPR budget could be increased.

Nelson Díaz is drawn to the Forbidden Drive, where he ran for many years. He deplored the dilapidation of too many rec centers & vowed he would increase the PPR budget by 10%.

Jim Kenney said his dream park is Franklin Square, which he called “the best children’s park in the USA.” He called Rec workers “heroes” who had inspired him as a youth. He thought advertising & other marketing opportunities could boost revenue for parks.

Doug Oliver
grew up in Germantown & vividly recalls hitting home runs in Vernon Park. He insisted that Philadelphia’s top budget priority is schools but stated that PPR’s physical training was an essential complement to the School District’s academics.

Tony Williams grew up across from Cobbs Creek Park & still lives in that house. His mother, a science teacher, founded an environmental center in that park. He would increase the PPR budget by $1 million. Like Kenney he advocated private-sector funding opportunities such as branding, & tapping famous Philadelphians to give back to their city.

Democracy in action: two more meetings on 4224 Baltimore Ave.

There are more meetings to attend on 4224 Baltimore! Going to meetings is our best means of showing our support for U3’s exciting mixed-use development project in the vacant lot at 43rd and Baltimore.

First is a City Planning Commission hearing, Tuesday, April 28th,1 PM to 4 PM, 1515 Arch Street, room 18-029.

The most important meeting, the meeting to attend if you’re only going to attend one, is with the Zoning Board, the body that will actually decide whether the project can happen. It’s Wednesday, April 29th, 4 PM, 1515 Arch Street, room 18-002.

See you there!

FoCP general meeting 7 PM Monday, 4/20, Griffith Hall Lecture Hall A

Don’t forget to come to the Friends of Clark Park general meeting this coming Monday, 4/20, at 7 PM in Griffith Hall, Lecture Hall A. It’s the big USciences building on the east side of 43rd Street just above Woodland. We’ll talk about upcoming climactic zoning hearings on 4224 Baltimore, and volunteer opportunities for our Party in Clark Park beer garden on May 16th, and so much more.

Very official public meeting about 4224 Baltimore! 1 PM Tuesday, 4/7, Room 18-029, One Parkway Building, 1515 Arch Street.

Our friends at U3 Ventures are formally applying for their zoning variance to build the exciting mixed-use project at 4224 Baltimore Ave. They’ve held many community meetings and adapted their plans for our feedback, and now they’re making their case at a Civic Design Review on Tuesday, 4/7, at 1 PM.

Come show your support! We think a building project with locally-oriented storefronts, a nice gym, ample parking, and a sponsor who cares about our neighborhood would be a great addition. The meeting is open to the public, and attending is the best way to show the review board that we want this project to happen.

Clark Park Youth Soccer — Spring registration underway!

soccer logoThe spring season of Clark Park Youth Soccer will begin on Saturday, March 28th. Registration has begun for children ages 5 to 11. Visit our Soccer webpage to register by mail or online.

We’re still looking for volunteer coaches for the spring season. You don’t have to be a soccer superstar — if you enjoy working with kids and know the basic skills of the game, we can use your help! Interested? Contact us at for more info.

A bike Share station is coming to Clark Park!

A bike Share station is coming to Clark Park! Poll numbers indicate that this is the most popular choice for a station in West Philly.

The majority of Clark Park board members support putting a station on the south side of Chester Avenue, near 43rd Street. This highly visible location would be near, but not in the way of our popular farmer’s market. It would only take up three parking spaces, and may encourage people to bike to the park, instead of driving. (Parking will be way more affected by the proposed development at 43rd and Baltimore.)
Keep in mind, if the station doesn’t work here, it can be moved later.

Please call Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s office in support of this bike share location. Call (215) 686-3418/3419 between before March 13th. Ask to speak with John Fenton, Director of Constituent Services. He knows Clark Park well. Sample message “ My name is _______. I use Clark Park and support putting a bike share station on the south side of Chester Avenue, near 43rd and Baltimore.”

Thank you!

General Membership Meeting, Monday 2/23

Friends of Clark Park’s quarterly General Membership meeting — rescheduled from January — will be held at 7:00 pm on Monday, February 23rd in Rosenberger Hall*.  Our General Membership meetings are the opportunity for all members of the organization to hear about issues in the Park, and plans for upcoming improvements and events.  Some of the topics that are on the agenda for Monday include:  Party in the Park (May 16th), grant applications — both pending and funded, the bike share station planned for the Park, and the 4224 zoning meeting.

Please join us!  More participation means a better Park for all of us!

*Rosenberger Hall is the brick building just south of the basketball courts on 43rd Street.

Celebrate Charles Dickens’ 203rd Birthday in (and Near) Clark Park

Sunday, February 8, 2 Pm, Griffith Hall, east side of 43rd just north of Woodland, Free Admission

Dickens fans and neighbors of Clark Park are organizing this year’s fun, festive Charles Dickens Birthday Party. You’re cordially and merrily invited to join us! Sponsored by The Friends of Clark Park, we’re having an afternoon of drama and music near the site of Frank Elwell’s beautiful sculpture of Dickens and Little Nell.

photo (3) The indoor, on-stage portion of the festivities will be held in Griffith Hall of the University of the Sciences, 43rd and Kingsessing, across the street from the southern tip of Clark Park. Admission is free.

Actors Ceil Mann and Larry Beck, along with members of the Curio Theater Company, will perform scenes from The Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist. Young Sophie Pettit, accompanied by her father, the writer and local Dickens ambassador Edward G. Pettit, will enact a scene from The Old Curiosity Shop. We’ll also have a special performance inspired by the new benches recently installed at the statue. Several Dickens fans will read the quotations emblazoned on the benches and they’ll give us a taste of the scenes from which the quotes were “lifted.”

The dramatic program is followed by treats for all, Dickensian socializing, and a performance by the Kingsessing Morris Men, first place winners in the comic division at the 2012 Mummers Parade.

Finally, the Morris dancers will lead a procession to the statue where youngsters will decorate Dickens and Little Nell with wreaths and we’ll sing “Happy Birthday.”

West Philadelphians who have grown up, and grown older, in the Clark Park neighborhood have come to respect and admire the bronze statue of Dickens. Created in 1890 by renowned sculptor Frank Elwell, it was installed in Clark Park in 1901. For most of the time since then, it’s been the world’s only public statue of Dickens, due to the novelist’s request that no memorials or statues be erected in his honor. So, to recognize the statue’s special role in our neighborhood’s history, and to pay homage to a great writer, we throw a birthday party every year!

The program begins at 2 pm sharp and ends an hour and a half later. Do come and join us!