We're on so many mailing lists. And perhaps because we get so many emails that are only of marginal interest, we end up ignoring most of them. Yesterday though, we got an email that caught our eye so we figured we'd share. It came from the 5th Square, a political action committee that advocates for good governance, better land-use, improved public transportation, and other stuff that makes and would make our city a better place. The topic of the email was the Guerin Recreation Center at 16th & Jackson, and more specifically it related to a proposed green space on its southern end.

Rec Center at 16th & Jackson

View at 16th & Wolf

To the south of the rec center, a large parking lot takes up about a quarter of a city block. This parking lot isn't typically in use though, it's apparently used almost exclusively for event-related parking. The murals around the perimeter are nice, but if we lived close to this thing, we'd probably be happy to hear about a plan to see it disappear. And that was indeed the case at two community meetings held by Newbold Civic Association over the last few years, when the Water Department presented plans to convert some of the parking lot into a community green space. Two different plans were considered, with more support going to the plan with a smaller green space and 24 parking spots. With apparent support from the community, they applied for a design grant from the Community Design Collaborative.

Green space, plan 1, image from Passyunk Post

Green space, plan 2, image from Passyunk Post

According to 5th Square, sometime this spring, Parks & Rec reached out to NCA to inform them that the plans may be curtailed or canceled because of concerns from near neighbors about the loss of parking. We're not sure why people would be up in arms about the loss of parking spots from a lot that's not typically in use, but hey, it's not our neighborhood and we won't pretend to understand the dynamics. With this apparent divide in opinion, the project will be discussed at the next NCA meeting on Monday, October 26th. The Water Department, Parks & Rec, and the Councilman's office will be there. If you can't attend and want to sign a petition in support, click here.