GivingTuesdayClarkParkAfter giving thanks and getting deals, it’s time to give back! #GivingTuesday is the day to make a difference in your community.  And what better way to do that than to make a gift to the Friends of Clark Park?  Clark Park reaches the heart and soul of our community, connects us and empowers us to act locally – and the Friends support the park with maintenance, improvements and advocacy.  This Tuesday, consider joining and making a financial donation to the Friends of Clark Park.  Your contribution will go toward new benches, tree care, garden improvements, and tireless advocacy for West Philadelphia’s most engagingly active green space.

And remember, #GivingTuesday is about more than just one day.  Come work with us over the next year. Volunteer with us as we steward the park and stay connected. Spend this week doing one good deed for the park each day you are there, like bringing a bag with you to pick up trash you see. Or join us to clean up leaves this Saturday, December 2nd, at 10:00 am – we’ll meet by the shed.
Don’t forget to post your #unselfie. Add Clark Park to your giving story this Tuesday and beyond and tell everyone how you are giving back to your park.

Trash in Clark Park

Yesterday, I spent three hours as a volunteer bagging trash in B Park.  I did this because we are between SMA’s (Seasonal Maintenance Associates), the summer season (funded by PP&R) having ended in October (with an extension to November 12) and the winter season (funded by UCD) having not begun yet.  So for two weeks the trash cans have gone untended, and as many people have noticed, they are overflowing.   I took the bags in the shed out and moved trash to the curb, putting in new bags, for a dozen or so of the cans around the Tot Lot and the bowl, until I ran out of bags and energy.   While doing this I had some thoughts about trash in the park.

First, please remember that everything you leave in a trash can in Clark Park has to be moved to the curb by hand.  There are no machines that come in and empty the cans (though the SMA uses a wheelbarrow).  In an ideal world we would like park users to take their trash with them, though we know that is unlikely.   But there are things you can do to help the situation.  If you are throwing away a water bottle, empty it first.  The trees need the water more than the trash truck does, and liquids are heavy.

Second, household trash has no place in park trash cans.   This applies equally to automotive trash, such as old tires, and to construction debris.   The SMA has enough work to do dealing with trash generated in the park, without having to deal with stuff brought in from elsewhere.

Third, if you have a party or a picnic in the park, please bring your own trash bags.  Ideally you should take that trash out of the park when you leave, but if you fill them and leave them beside the trash cans it is easy for the SMA to deal with it.   But if you put 30 dirty plates and cups into a trash bag, it is filled up and can’t be used by others.  So please add trash bags to your shopping list for parties in the park.

Thank you for your continued support of the Friends of Clark Park!

Love Clark Park This Saturday!

Come join us this Saturday, November 12th, starting at 9:30 am.  We will be planting, raking and mulching – and enjoying snacks and the company of fellow park-lovers.  Volunteers are welcome to take time out for our annual Veteran’s Day Commemoration at the Gettysburg Stone at 11.  See you then!


Tree Removal Update




You may have noticed the interesting tree trunk laying on the ground by the tot lot.  This sentinel of the park, likely dating to its inception, has an intriguing story. The arborist crew removing the trunk of the London Plane ran into an obstacle they have never encountered before. The tree had grown around and engulfed a stone! We had the hungry tree instead of the hungry caterpillar at the playground. The stone feed the tree for a time but may have lead to its demise in the end.

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) acted swiftly over the past two weeks to remove two hazard trees hanging over the playgrounds of Clark Park. One tree had been identified for removal and marked earlier this summer at the tot lot but while the arbor crew was on-site, a second hazard tree was identified in the older children’s play area for imminent removal. The Department moved quickly and efficiently to adjust their work plan to remove both trees entirely, including the stumps. They added in another nearby stump for removal that frees a spot for the Friends to work on tree replacements. (two pics attached of the successive work, one shows the extra stump in the foreground just as the canopy was starting to be removed, second one demonstrates the show the work put on for those in the park these past two weeks).

A key facet of the project was PPR adding ground protection mats to the scope of work purchase. These mats will be able to be used in future projects around the city to protect soil and paved areas from damage of heavy equipment such as that needed to take down the large trees.

Join us in thanking the department for removing these hazards and saluting them for continuing to innovate on best management practices in our parks!



Update: The tree removal is well under way, and will continue on November 18th.   We have been told that one playground should be open later tomorrow.

The removal of the large London Plane tree on the west side of the playground has finally been confirmed for November 17th, and work may continue on the 18th if necessary.  This will require a brief closure of the playground for safety’s sake. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we want to make sure that Clark Park is a safe and beautiful place to play for years to come!

Meet FoCP’s New Officers & Directors for 2017

2016-boardFRIENDS OF CLARK PARK elected its annual Officers & Directors on Oct. 25 at its public Membership Meeting at Griffith Hall on USciences campus.

Elected to new office or continuing from last year’s election, 18 Officers & Directors will guide West Philadelphia’s premier regional park until October 2017. We rounded up 14 of them after the meeting & here they are, R-L:

Kevin Kearney, Tony West, Fran Byers & Chip Natarajan, Directors; Frank Chance, Secretary; Barbara Nolan, Vice President; Mary Anne Lucey, Milan Marvelous & Darryl Stovall, Directors; Lisa McDonald Hanes, President; & Don Webster, Ari Kessler, Jean Marie Kouassi, Samir Thaker & Kevin Roche, Directors.

P.S.: Those who missed the photo-op are still very much part of the park team!

A Park Renovation: Your Membership Dues at Work!


Summer may be over, but things are still stirring in Clark Park. The planned renovations in A Park are finally coming to fruition. New chess tables have been installed, new stone fines are being spread, and grass has been replanted in the area temporarily inhabited by Parks on Tap this summer. Friends of Clark Park has provided the bulk of the financing, augmented by our share of the proceeds from Parks on Tap. We’re thrilled to invite you to come see the improvements!


North Park Is Under Construction

central-plaza-2Starting Monday, the Central Plaza of the North Park (“A Park”) will be under construction for two related projects: installing long-awaited permanent chess tables to replace the ratty units the players now employ; & restoring the layer of stone fines (gravel) that now covers the plaza, which was installed in 2009 & has worn thin.

Your FRIENDS OF CLARK PARK membership dollars at work! A rough estimate of the cost is $15,000.

This is in addition to the soil-restoration project in the Parks on Tap beergarden area near 44th St. That’s coming out of the money the beergarden made for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Dept.

For further updates on park-improvement needs & plans, come to Monday’s public General Membership Mtg. tomorrow, Monday evening, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Griffith Hall, USciences, 43rd St. & Kingsessing Mall. Attendance is free & open to all.

Any questions? Call Tony West at (267) 456-5687.

Soil Invigoration Underway

dsc_5272Did you see a temporary fence go up in Clark Park? Soil decompaction was completed on Wednesday in ‘A’ park to loosen the soil around a grove of trees and at the edge of the lawn. This will aid in water and air being able to reach the critical root zone. Compost and biochar amendments were added to build the soil structure and add nutrients; grass seed was added to build the lawn. We will be mulching under the trees this Saturday morning starting at 9:00. Please join us!