A Letter from Our New President



lmh-319When Friends of Clark Park President Douglas Naphas stepped down this past spring, I was excited to step in and have the opportunity to advance the mission of the Friends, which is to encourage, promote and coordinate efforts of neighbors, area institutions and the City of Philadelphia in maintaining, improving and utilizing Clark Park. Douglas served for more than three years, guiding park stewardship through a time of increased usage and programming. I, and the Friend’s Board of Directors, greatly thank Douglas for his time of service to the park as President and his ongoing service to the Board.

As a practicing landscape architect and experienced public space advocate, and, most importantly, one who values the importance of stewardship to the quality of our public spaces, I am thrilled to help guide the Friends at a time of increased attention to and use of our public park, our civic commons.

My family and I are long-time users and volunteers of the park, as well as members of FoCP. Our use started with taking our then-baby to the playground, and we became more aware of the Friends and its support of the park through Clark Park Soccer. The soccer program, now in its twentieth year, is an introduction to the park and its stewards for many. I was asked recently why I am active with the Friends. It is easy to tick off the needs, the backlog of maintenance and wish list for improvements. We who love the park know that there is always more to be done and more collective nurturing that can push the park forward. But for me it comes down to the connections this park has germinated, the lasting shared experiences I have had with my family, friends, neighbors and strangers.

The stories of personal connection leading to park contribution begin at the founding of public parks in Philadelphia and Clark Park particularly. I am inspired by those who serve with me and those who have served before me, volunteers giving of their free time to guide stewardship and improve park quality for the past forty-two years. We, as a member-driven organization, come together to speak up and work together for best outcomes for the park so it is ready for the next day and the next park user.

Clark Park holds a special place among Philadelphia neighborhood parks. It invites all from the near neighborhood, broader West Philadelphia, and the city at large to play, to enjoy time outside, catch an event you would not have dreamed up, to interact with those you know and with someone new. It is our wide variety of park users and happenings within the park that keep many coming back often. And it is our place to act locally for a better collective environment and healthier living for us all.

I am looking forward to building upon all of the incredible work that has formed and propelled this formidable organization. FocP has earned a reputation among the city’s friends of parks network for our capacity, magnifying park users’ feedback, and leveraging of resources. Our collective vision for the park recognizes our place in the continuum of care of this marvelous place. We have made a name for ourselves by working together, making connections between issues often seen as disparate: programming, active use, building constituencies and landscape management.

Whether it is the active recreation, the playground, dog walking, the many weekend events or the farmers market that brings you to the park, there is much to love. And because of that love there is much to do to keep the park ready for the next day and the next user. I ask you to share your experiences with the Friends, tell us what you love about the park, challenges you see, how you would love to help inform and guide improvements and care by becoming a member and joining as a volunteer whether on a committee, at a work day or joining the Board of Directors. I hope it is the lasting connections and relationships you take with you from the park that sustain and enrich your day to day in West Philadelphia.

We hold annual elections for the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee in October, this year on the 24th at 7 p.m. Please join us at that meeting to renew your membership or become a member and vote for the Director positions. I will be seeking re-election as President of the Friends at that time to serve a one-year term and will ask for your vote then.  We are also seeking a few nominations for board members, particularly looking to add skill sets in development, communications and technology. Please send us your nominations by October 15th.

I am anxious to meet with you, old and new members alike, as we work together for the best Clark Park.


Lisa McDonald Hanes

Park Etiquette: A Brief Guide


Dear Park User,

If at all possible, please take your trash with you. If this isn’t possible, please use the trash and recycling cans. Put trash in bags next to cans if trash cans are full.
Vehicles are only permitted on paved surfaces briefly, to drop off equipment. Vehicles cause soil compaction, which is bad for roots.
All groups of 50 or more, or those using amplified sound, must apply for a permit. “Picnic Permits” do not allow for amplified sound. More information about permits:


Do not dump charcoal briquettes in park. keep them in your grill and take them home. They are not good for plants.
Clean up after all pets (dogs, horses, etc.). Fresh manure isn’t good for plants or people.
Following these rules make the park nice for everyone. Thanks for your cooperation.


The Friends of Clark Park

Clark Park Youth Soccer: Registration Update

Walk-in registration for Clark Park Youth Soccer will take place on Saturday, September 24th, from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, in Rosenberger Hall (the brick building on 43rd Street near the basketball court. Those registering in person on Saturday can pay by cash or check; we cannot accept credit/debit card payments.

At this time, our 5-6 and 6-7 age groups are nearly full; there is plenty of room still for children ages 8 to 11!

Please see our Soccer web page for registration links, and for more information about the program, or email clarkparksoccer@yahoo.com .

Registration Open: Clark Park Youth Soccer

Registration is now underway for the fall season of Clark Park Youth Soccer. This Friends of Clark Park-sponsored program — now in it’s 20th year — is a family-friendly, non-competitive program for children ages 5 to 11. The program takes place in the Clark Park “Bowl” on Saturdays, 10:30 to Noon for ages 5 to 7, and Noon to 1:30 for ages 8 to 11. Volunteer coaches provide instruction on the basic skills of soccer, with scrimmage games between teams in each age group; children of any ability are encouraged to join in.

The soccer program is very popular, drawing families from the neighborhood and all around the city; families are urged to register early to ensure that there is space available for their children. The Fall season will begin on Saturday, September 24th and continue through November 19th. Visit our soccer page for registration links, details about the program and costs, including information about assistance available for families with financial need. Please contact clarkparksoccer@yahoo.com with any questions, or if you’re interested in volunteering.

London Plane Tree’s Going Down

Cpq0aReXYAUezDl[1]We are sorry to say that the large London Plane tree on the west side of the playground has died, and is going to be removed on or about August 30th. 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!

General Membership Meeting July 18th

Friends of Clark Park are having a General Membership meeting this Monday, July 18th, at 7 pm in Griffith Lecture Hall A at the University of the Sciences. All members are invited, and so is any park lover with questions, concerns, or ideas about Clark Park. We hope to see you there!