Planning

Planning Committee Chair: Darryl Stovall, dwstovall@gmail.com, (215) 909-3621.

The Friends of Clark Park has been the community’s forum and voice in the renewal of Clark Park. With every project, we have consulted with designers, advised city planners, and ensured that any improvements to the park would reflect the needs and desires of the West Philadelphia community.

Current Projects

Scheherezade

Scheherazade. by Joe Mooney

Next on our plate is the installation of Joe Mooney’s sculpture “Scheherezade,” and we hope to gain the necessary approval to have this work installed in Clark Park. Installing a sculpture requires the approvals of several layers of city government (including the Arts Commission). The FOCP has composed a written proposal to Parks and Rec for the sculpture, and we hope to give Mr. Mooney’s sculpture a good home in Clark Park.

Joe Mooney’s website, http://www.joemooneysculpture.com/, showcases his work.

Park A Water Reclamation and Farmers’ Market Renovation

Our next big project will be some more work in Park A in Spring 2012—this time, the Water Department will help us rebuild the sidewalk area along 43rd street, where the Farmers’ Market happens. The general plan is to expand the paving for a wider path; underneath, a water reclamation system, similar to that under the basketball court, will be installed. We’d hoped to have this done with the rest of the Park A project, but funding fell through on this particular project; but new funding’s been secured, and we believe that work will begin in Spring 2012.

Grass in the Bowl

One project that should spark a lot of community interest and discussion is repairing the long-term damage of the Bowl. As you know, the floor of the Bowl is a barren hardpan of dirt, and a little athletic activity or a stiff breeze creates whirlwinds of dust that make it hard to breathe down there. This isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s something of a health hazard. So we are currently consulting with experts in grass maintenance from many other institutions, including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Parks and Recreation, to find out what a bowl restoration would entail. What’s caused this problem—has it simply been overuse, or is the Bowl ill-suited for maintaining a grass cover under heavy use? Is this something that can be repaired with occasional grass seeding? Or would it require aerating the soil, installing better drainage systems, laying down a sod layer, or improving the irrigation? Is this a project that requires a one-time only reconstruction, with regular maintenance, or would it require heroic efforts on an ongoing basis? Would it require closing down the Bowl, in part or in whole, and would this be required every year? Would it require limiting activities in the Bowl?

While we’ve heard many theories about these questions, we need to determine the best solutions before we raise the big question, namely: is this something the neighborhood wants to do? So, the Planning Committee is working to determine what would be required to restore the Bowl’s grass cover, and we’ll be keeping you informed about this issue as it develops.

Recent Projects

Park A Renewal (Completed June 16, 2011)

After five years of planning, the reconstruction of Park A was completed in June 2011. See our separate page for details.

Special-Needs Swing Installed (Fall 2010)

Carrie Roberts, Frank Chance, Carol Jenkins and Dexter Bryant give Helena Roberts a ride in the new swing.

The Clark Park Playground now has its first commercial-grade special needs swing! Thanks to the efforts of Carrie and Jody Roberts, and funding through the Clark Park Community Grants, this new swing will create new opportunities for children who are not generally afforded the luxury of playing alongside typically-abled children. The swing was added through a grant from the Clark Park Community Grants, a fund set up by UCD and the Clark Park Partnership for park improvement projects. The fund is partly funded by the Democratic 27th Ward Committee, and labor for the swing was provided by the Department of Recreation.

Chester Avenue Drainage (Spring 2009)

In Spring 2009, SEPTA rebuilt a large section of Chester Avenue. The FOCP and the Department of Recreation was able to negotiate some revisions to alleviate severe drainage problems.

Handbill Kiosks, 2008 and beyond

New Kiosk

The Friends of Clark Park have funded and installed three kiosks, for posting public announcements, handbills, and other announcements. They’re located at the corner of 43rd and Baltimore, on Chester Avenue west of 43rd street, and near the Basketball Court.

Basketball Court Reconstruction (Fall 2007)

Basketball Court Drainage Pit, Fall 2007

In Fall 2007, state and city monies became available to rebuild our forty-year-old basketball court. The court was expanded slightly, with new surfacing, fences, and benches. A water fountain was installed. Also, the site now incorporates a massive water reclamation system which reduces the flooding of the city’s sewer systems.

Playground and Tot Lot

Playground and Tot Lot

Prior to this project, the Park had two playgrounds: the playground in Park B, and a large stone Tot Lot in Park A. The Revitalization Plan called for the consolidation of these playground into one location in Park B. This project was completed in 2002.

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