Week of September 18: Rebuild Philadelphia to Break Ground on three Recreation Centers with over $60 million in Investments
Public groundbreakings are set to take place at Francis J. Myers Recreation Center ($20M+), Johnny Sample (Cobbs Creek) Recreation Center ($15M+) and Kingsessing Recreation Center ($25M+) to celebrate Rebuild’s largest week of construction to date.
PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney, Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton, State Representative Rick Krajewski, Councilmembers Kenyatta Johnson and Jamie Gauthier, the NFL Foundation and Philadelphia Eagles, and community members across West and Southwest Philadelphia will be celebrating the largest investment week to date as Rebuild Philadelphia is set to break ground on three renovation projects next week totaling over $60M in investments.
Public groundbreakings are scheduled to take place at F.J. Myers Recreation Center ($20M+), Johnny Sample (Cobbs Creek) Recreation Center ($15M+) and Kingsessing Recreation Center ($25M+) where the Rebuild team will announce their construction plans, and local officials and community members will express how these makeovers will positively impact their neighbors.
“This will be an exciting week for Rebuild and our communities in West and Southwest Philadelphia as we kick off the largest investment week to date,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Thanks to the collective efforts of the City, State, partners, and our community members, Rebuild Philadelphia will break ground on three renovation projects totaling over $60M in investment. This historic level of investment in our recreation centers will bring a transformation that our residents will get to enjoy for generations to come.”
“Rebuild believes our communities deserve the highest-quality facilities, and that is why we are investing nearly $550 million into the Rebuild program, over $60 million this week alone,” said Rebuild Philadelphia Executive Director Kira Strong. “The updates to come at F.J. Myers Recreation Center, Johnny Sample Recreation Center and Kingsessing Recreation Center will support Rebuild’s inclusive mission to provide resources that will serve multiple generations, because we can learn and grow at any age.”
“These investments are down payments on a brighter, more equitable, and thriving future for the city and its people,” said William Penn Foundation Executive Director Shawn McCaney. “No matter your neighborhood, race, or income level, every citizen of this city deserves to have access to high-quality, safe public spaces, and keeping Rebuild around through the next mayoral administration will help make that a reality.”
Kingsessing Recreation Center
Tuesday, September 19, 9:15 a.m.
The series of monumental groundbreaking events will begin at Kingsessing Recreation Center adjacent to the neighboring Rebuild project site, the Kingsessing Library which is currently under construction, the Recreation Center is set to undergo major renovations to both the building and its athletic fields. The over $25 million in improvements feature an artificial turf athletic field funded by an NFL Foundation and Philadelphia Eagles grant, a new playground, an updated security system, and more.
Improvements at Kingsessing Recreation Center include:
- Accessibility upgrades including elevator, lifts, and accessible bathrooms
- New mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and telecom systems
- Updated sprinkler system
- Artificial turf sports field
- Improved stormwater management
- New playground with safety surface and accessible play equipment
- Improved internal pathways and stairs, lighting, gathering space and amenities
- Additional plantings
- Improvements to surface courts and furniture
“I am excited to break ground on two more Rebuild projects in Southwest Philadelphia,” said Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District). “I grew up playing at the Kingsessing Recreation Center, so I know firsthand how transformative Rebuild’s improvements will be for our young people! By investing an additional $40 million in public spaces, we continue to show our Southwest neighbors during a time of rapid change that they deserve community resources that empower them to thrive!”
“I’m very excited about all the Rebuild projects, especially renovations to the Kingsessing Library and Recreation Center in my own district. By investing in public spaces like rec centers and libraries, we’re taking an important step towards creating a Southwest Philadelphia that’s safer, more connected, and where everyone can thrive,” said State Representative Rick Krajewski.
Francis J. Myers Recreation Center
Wednesday, September 20, 4 p.m.
Community members in Southwest Philadelphia will be in awe of the transformation slated ahead. Named in honor of former State Senator Francis J. Myers in 1965, F.J. Myers Recreation Center sits on a 7.6-acre park that includes playground equipment, a sprinkler and pool, basketball courts, and sports fields. The seven-room recreation center building has a gymnasium, public computing center, and multipurpose rooms that host a wide array of activities. Totaling more than $20 million in improvements, including necessary interim improvements completed during phase one of the project in 2021, phase two will fully gut and renovate the existing three-story facility, as well as demolish the existing annex and gymnasium sections of the original building. In April 2022, Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton announced the approval of a $4.5 million grant to invest in the Recreation Center. The grant was awarded by the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).
Rebuild is committed to working with diverse businesses to improve every site and this site specifically has collaborated with three women business enterprises and six minority business enterprises on this project.
F.J. Myers Phase One updates were:
- Brand new, state-of-the-art mini pitch soccer fields boasting a mural by Calo Rosa entitled “Unity Chant”
- Renovated tennis courts with new nets and fencing
- Updated, repainted and lined basketball courts with new backboards and rims
Phase Two updates will include the following:
New project construction:
- Regulation size basketball gymnasium and lobby addition including restrooms
- Relocation of playground and adult fitness equipment
- New sprayground, community garden, site landscaping, site lighting, repair and replacement of fencing and retaining walls, selective tree removal and new plantings, regrading and stormwater management.
- Masonry cleaning, repairs, and repointing
- Window replacement, with security grilles and exterior door replacement
- Selective roof replacement with metal tile shingles to match existing at pitched roof areas
- Selective repair and replacement of existing roof
- New exterior lighting and security camera system
- Selective demolition of existing partitions, ceilings, flooring, doors, casework, mechanical electrical, plumbing, and fire protection throughout
- Hazmat Remediation throughout
- ADA upgrades, including new 4-stop elevator
- Reconfiguration of interior rooms and toilet rooms at floors 1, 2 only
- Casework and interior casework and millwork at floors 1, 2 only
- New FF+E at floors 1, 2 only
- Interior signage and wayfinding at floors 1, 2 only
- Complete new power and lighting systems throughout
- Complete new security, IT, and AV systems throughout
- Complete new plumbing systems throughout
- Complete new electrical, mechanical fire alarm and fire protection systems throughout
- Stabilization and cleanout at basement and third floor
“Myers Rec Center is a local treasure that has been serving our community for generations,” said PA Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton. “Improvements to the center that are starting soon will not only ensure that Myers continues to be a place where neighbors of all ages can gather to learn and play, but will also support and elevate the women and minority-owned businesses working on the project.”
“The Francis J. Myers Rec Center is critical to the children and residents of Southwest Philadelphia,” said Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), who represents parts of Southwest Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, and Center City. “This is a great Rebuild project that will result in a world-class recreation center in Southwest Philadelphia. Francis Myers is located in the Second Council District and the residents of Southwest Philadelphia and our children deserve the very best. I commend outgoing Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny for making our parks and recreation centers his number one priority during his tenure in office.”
Johnny Sample (Cobbs Creek) Recreation Center
Friday, September 22, 10:30 a.m.
Rounding out the week, City Officials will gather at Johnny Sample (Cobbs Creek) Recreation Center in West Philadelphia. Home to the Cobbs Creek community, the recreation center is a highly used location with a gymnasium and multipurpose rooms where community members enjoy environmental education and other programming. Earlier this year, Rebuild held a ribbon cutting at Cobbs Creek Nature Playground, a $1.6M investment into the community providing a brand new nature-themed playground including swings, climbing sections, colorful play mounds, and water misters to foster imaginative play. The recreation center and playground are part of more than $15 million being invested by Rebuild in the Cobbs Creek section of Philadelphia.
Johnny Sample site location renovations include:
- Partial demolition of existing building
- New construction of two-story addition
- Renovation of existing basketball gym and sitework (hardscape, landscape, parking area).
- Site and building accessibility: paths from street/parking to pool level, LULA, pool lift, accessible parking spaces, restrooms for pool and building users
- New multi-purpose room for large gatherings
- New flex space for meetings and small group activities
- New fitness room with new boxing ring, heavy bags, speed bags, and jab bags, and athletic flooring
- New kitchenette
- New entrance, reception area, lobby with custom millwork
- New roof, HVAC system, interior lighting, and furniture throughout
- Refinished basketball gym with new backboards and hoops
- Landscape beautification: new shrubs, lawn, and trees
- New site lighting, picnic tables and benches
- Cobbs Creek Park and Trail signage
- Percent for Art Bronze Bas Relief Sculpture Conservation and Relocation
“Serving this neighborhood, I’m excited by the updates Rebuild is making to the Cobbs Creek Park,” said PA Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton. “Following this summer’s playground opening, the upcoming project to improve Cobbs Creek Rec’s accessibility will mean even more neighbors can enjoy the center’s activities and special programming.”
Rebuild is an historic investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild’s promise to acknowledge history, engage the community and invest intentionally seeks to uplift pivotal community spaces, empower neighborhoods, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.
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