Last summer, we told you all about a new playground getting built at Chester A. Arthur elementary school at 20th & Catharine. This project was driven by members of Friends of Chester Arthur (FoCA), a non-profit group that partners with teachers and school administrators to help make Arthur the best school it can possibly be, and was funded through a combination of a grant from AmeriHealth Mercy, a gift from SOSNA, and individual contributions. Since the playground was installed in June, hundreds of kids have enjoyed this new neighborhood amenity.

The playground

But FoCA isn’t done yet, not by a long shot. According to an email we received last week, the next phase of schoolyard redevelopment is coming this summer. Earlier this month, the group met with landscape architecture firm Olin as well as school and neighborhood stakeholders to conduct a design development work session. From that session a plan emerged to add new plantings to the area surrounding the playground, much needed seating for parents, a shade sail, new lighting, and an outdoor chalkboard.

Site plan of the next phase

FoCA intends to present these plans next month to the School District, and hopes to build these additions to the playground early this summer. So far, they’ve raised over $11K for this effort, and they’re working hard to get to their $20K goal for this phase. If you’re interested in making a donation, you can visit their website.

In a neighborhood where the babies keep on coming, it’s exciting to see this recent addition to the area continue to evolve. From what we understand, there are additional phases planned for the redevelopment of the Arthur schoolyard, so we can look forward to further enhancements in the coming years. Hopefully, projects like this and others yet to come will continue to improve the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, encouraging growing families to stay in the city rather than flee to the ‘burbs.

Hey, we can hope, right?