New benches by the Dickens statue

The Charles Dickens circle, home to a unique statue of the 19th century author posing with one of his characters, Little Nell, has beautiful brand new benches after a major cooperative park improvement project.

The six modern units replaced the crumbling, unsafe, unsecured, backless planks on bricks that sat around the circle for years. Friends of Clark Park coordinated the effort to put them in, but we have many collaborators to thank.

The Philadelphia Chapter of the Charles Dickens Fellowship, the Blakemore Foundation, University City District, and individual donors helped finance the additions. Mr. Dickens’ neighbors across 43rd Street, the City of Philadelphia Public Health Center #3, with assistance from director Patricia Pate, patiently stored the benches while we organized ourselves.

Power Corps PHL, a program that puts people to work improving public parks and rec centers, demolished the old benches, assisted with building the new ones, and provided a comprehensive cleanup throughout the park. We hope you’ll notice weeded gardens, removed trash, and mulched vegetation as a result of their enthusiastic labor. The Department of Parks and Recreation, through the care of stewardship director Barb McCabe, made sure we had the city resources we needed. Finally, the city’s skilled trades department did the actual work of building and physically installing the benches with amazing speed and professionalism.

As you sit, take a moment to enjoy quotes lovingly selected by the Fellowship from Dickens’ writings on the plaques at the backs of the benches. Rest assured that the benches have been tested by the drum circle musicians. Use them as a space for shade or reflection as you head to the many exciting events in Clark Park this summer, like Shakespeare in Clark Park  at 7 PM south of Chester today through Sunday, the Awesome Fest movie nights 9 PM every Thursday except tomorrow, and Bark in the Park this fall.

Look for news about even more places to sit courtesy of Friends of Clark Park soon, when we deploy a fresh shipment of the popular orange chairs seen in the northern plaza since the revitalization.

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