Around the corner from a possible new student housing development, we noticed a chain link fence at the corner of 37th & Mount Vernon. Our first instinct was that this was yet another construction site springing up in Mantua, likely some additional student housing development. Upon closer examination though, we quickly realized this wasn't the case at all.
This corner has been home to a small park and playground for many years, notably featuring an oddly elevated basketball court and a worn out playground. The website Map of Play, which describes many of the playgrounds around town, offered this summary: "This playground is extremely run down. It's now used more by druggies than children. The paint is chipped throughout the park and dangerous for kids. The mural is chipped and falling apart. The floor paint is chipped and broken throughout the park. The benches are rotting. The basketball court paint is there but fading. Kids still play basketball there." Uh, yeah, not what you'd call a ringing endorsement of this public green space.
In 2013, Plan Philly shared the good news that renovation was imminent for this playground, as part of the Green2015 program. Several community meetings took place and while the renovation efforts are about a year behind, they're now finally moving forward. A sign on the fence indicates just what we can expect, with separate playgrounds for younger and older kids, a totally new basketball court, some new seating areas, new trees, and a rain garden that will assist with storm water management.
Work got started a couple months ago, and unfortunately we don't think it'll be finished before the weather takes a turn for the chilly. That being said, come springtime, or the occasionally warm day this autumn, the kids in Mantua are gonna have a sweet new place to play. We'll look forward to seeing the finished product in the near future.