Park A Reconstruction News, Feb 2011

We’ve had some requests for a better update to this website, especially regarding the Park A Reconstruction. So here’s the latest we have.

First of all, the fence is probably going to stay up until May. We know that’s not terrific news. The original plan was that the grass seed would have been spread in early or mid-November, after the paths were laid down, because that would have been the latest time of the year for grass seed to have a chance to take root. However, the city delayed about a month before starting construction, which delayed the progress to the point that a fall seeding wasn’t feasible. This means that the seeding will have to happen in early Spring, probably March or April. The fences will stay up for six weeks after that to give the grass a chance to flourish. So we expect the fences to come down sometime in May.

The FOCP Board also resolved to request a moratorium on issuing permits for large events in Park A during 2011. If Parks and Recreation agrees, events requiring permits that would normally be in Park A (the May Fair, the Uhuru flea markets, the Capture the Flag games) will be moved to Park B, just south of Chester Avenue.

Youth Soccer Enrollment for Spring 2011

Clark Park Youth Soccer League’s Spring 2011 season begins on Saturday, March 19th and continues until May 21st. Please register today!

5-6 year olds and 6-7 year olds will play from 10:30 to noon and 7-8 year olds and 9-11 year olds will play from noon-1:30pm each Saturday.

We try to assure anyone who sends pre-registration forms postmarked by the deadline of March 1st will be assigned a place on a team in their age group. CPYSL players must be at least 5 years old but no older than 12 years on March 19th.

Letter to Parents for Spring 2011

Registration Form for Spring 2011


FOCP’s Youth Soccer Page

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Volunteer Survey

From: Nate Trauntvein
Subject: Re: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Volunteer Survey
Dear Volunteer:

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management at Pennsylvania State University are conducting a research study to better understand the needs, wants and attitudes of people who volunteer in Philadelphia parks and recreation facilities. Specifically we are examining the reasons people volunteer for our organization, their satisfaction with our organization, and how willing they are too return to volunteer again.

Your response to this survey will help Philadelphia Parks & Recreation officials to better meet your recreation needs and interests. Please take a few minutes today to complete the survey. You can either click on this link )Parks and rec survey) or copy and paste it into your web browser. Your confidentiality will be kept to the degree permitted by the technology used. No guarantees can be made regarding the interception of data sent via the Internet by any third parties.

Your participation in this survey is voluntary, but very important. You have been included in this study because of your volunteer efforts with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. You do not have to answer any question that you do not want to answer. Rest assured, your answers will remain completely confidential. This study is being conducted for research purposes. Only aggregated results will be reported and you will not be identified in any way with your answers. Once the study is complete, all names and addresses will be destroyed. We WILL NOT sell or distribute your name and address to any other party. The survey should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Participants in this survey must be 18 years of age or older.

Completion and return of the survey is considered your implied consent to participate in this study. Please keep this form for your records. If you have any questions or concerns about completing the questionnaire or about participating in this study, you may contact me at the number listed above.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation would greatly benefit from your experiences, insights, and opinions. For this reason, we greatly appreciate your participation in this study. To show our appreciation for your participation, you can be entered in a drawing for a small prize. If you would like to be entered into the drawing you will need to provide your name and contact information at the end of the survey. Please rest assured that information entered in this section will NOT be linked to your survey responses. This information will be deleted from the database following the prize drawing.

Nate Trauntvein, M.S.
The Pennsylvania State University
Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management
701D Ford Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 867-1714

Nate Trauntvein
701D Ford Building
University Park, PA 16802

FOCP Board Minutes, December 13, 2010

Friends of Clark Park Board of Directors Meeting
Monday, December 13, 2010
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Rosenberger Hall

Present: Ed Halligan, President; Brian Siano, Vice-President; Erin Englestad, Secretary; Fran Byers, Ben Gollotti, Darryl Stovall, Kathleen Turner

Absent: Michael Brennan, Sarah Coburn, Frank Chance, Past President; Douglas Naphas, Chip Natarayan, Linda Schnolis, Jonathan Snyder, Past President; Bill Moriarty, Treasurer; Barbara Turner, Tony West

Guests: Danielle Denk, Milan Marvelous, West Philadelphia Urban Living Studio
Alex Doty, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

General News and Reports

Alex Doty, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia led a discussion of the progress the City has made regarding hePhiladelphia Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan. The City has completed Phase One and will soon commence Phase Two (Northeast, West and Souhwest Philadelphia). They are currently completing a survey of West Philadelphia. Our FoCP Master Plan was forwarded to the Streets Department for consideration in the plan. Bicycle recommendations will be discussed at an upcoming Planning Committee meeting.

Danielle Denk and Milan Marvelous of the West Philadelphia Urban Living Studio presented a proposal they are developing to connect park space to the Schuylkill River via an extension of the Schuylkill River Trail and the development of a sister park, the Mill Creek Park. A motion was passed to endorse a feasibility study for the project and for the Friends of Clark Park to serve as fiscal sponsor for the study.

Status of A Park

Ed Halligan reported A Park construction and reopening is on track. We do not know when the lightas will be rstored. Construction barriers will likely remain intact until April. No large events will be held in Park A in 2011.

Committee Reports

Membership: Fran Byers reported that she and Tony West are currently updating the membership list and sending renewal notices.

Maintenance: Committee Chair Frank Chance is absent and unable to present a report. The issue of the FOCP Board having access to the Moon maintenance Contract was raised again. Ed Halligan will look into it.

Large events: Tony West reported the Committee will be having a follow-up meeting on Tuesday, December 21st. The Dept., of Parks and Recreation is vague about what to do with permit applications in 2011. The Committee will present recommendations to the department.

Kathleen Turner inquired about archival processes for the FoCP Board. Mike Brennan suggested creating an online wiki that board members could access. A small web task force will be set up for FoCP web presence and archival issues.

The Tree Removals

by Brian Siano

The removal of 24 trees, as part of the long-planned Park A Revitalization, surprised and shocked many of our friends and neighbors. Although we’ve tried to keep people informed via our website, newsletter, Farmer’s Market table and articles in the UC Review, many people were unaware that the changes would be this sudden and this radical. Many people felt that trees which they regarded as healthy should not have been removed from the park.

Clark Park was never a “natural” forest that was simply barred off as a park; it’s a domesticated landscape, and it requires human intervention. Most of the trees, such as the London Planes, were planted more than a hundred years ago to shape the park. Many of the trees were planted because they could thrive in urban (i.e., polluted) environments, and most of them have thrived… for a hundred years.

At an FOCP Membership meeting in 2008, Lisa and Bryan Hanes outlined the strategies for tree removals. Arborist appraisals performed in 2001 and 2008 gave the Haneses a chance to study the progress of the trees in question.

Many of the trees removed were expected to die within the next five years or so. Some had hollow trunks (see photo), making them structurally unsound. A pear tree was removed because of fire blight.

Norway Maples: an Invasive Species

Seven trees, Norway Maples, were designated as an “invasive species,” and were removed. The notion of an “invasive” species of tree surprised many of our neighbors. The Norway Maples looked strong and healthy, and their deep green leaf color made them some of the most attractive trees in the park. They even have a venerable history, because they were introduced to the Americas by no less than John Bartram.

But they are “invasive” because they rapidly take over forest environments. They grow quickly, penetrating existing forest canopies, and their dark leaf color casts a dark shade that prevents sunlight from reaching other trees and plants. Their shallow root systems leach nutrients and water from other plants… and they secrete phytotoxins which damage other plants and trees as well. Many of Boston’s urban wilds are now monocultures of Norway Maples, and Massachusetts and New Hampshire have banned the sale of this species in order to protect woodlands.

The Morris Arboretum strongly suggested that we diversify the species of trees in the park. When the London Planes die, we plan to replace them by planting different species of trees. This becomes difficult when an existing species inhibits the growth of any new trees we decide to plant..

Why all at once?

A look at the downed tree trunks illustrates why many of them were removed. About 40% of this pile shows a great deal of internal rot.

A look at the downed tree trunks illustrates why many of them were removed. About 40% of this pile shows a great deal of internal rot.

The simple answer is that it was cheaper and more effective to do all twenty-four tree removals when we were also renovating the rest of the park.

Ever since Clark Park was established, it has required periodic maintenance, including tree pruning, planting, and the occasional tree removal. Normally, these haven’t been more than four or five trees at a time, and they don’t happen very often.

To give you an idea of what a tree removal involves, think about the loss of five trees this past summer. The total cost of those tree removals was $41,000. That’s between five and six thousand dollars per tree, and most of those had been torn from the ground already. We had twenty-four trees that were either going to die in the next five to ten years, or were interfering with the health of the park’s other trees.

Perhaps we could simply have let them die on their own, and have them removed one by one as they went. That would have required funding to pay for expensive tree removals, not to mention the hazard of allowing trees to collapse on a heavily-used park. It would also have required heavy machinery to rest on the paths we’re building now, and the work would have to avoid damaging the rest of the park. The Park A project enabled us to take care of these trees all at once, with state and city money, and when the paths and lights were also being rebuilt.