Visit the Ralph Brooks Tot Lot at 20th & Tasker today and the first thing you notice is a chilling mural containing dozens of names of neighborhood victims of violence. It’s perhaps appropriate that such a mural would exist next door to this twenty-five year old park, which was established in response to an incident involving a six-year-old, to attempt to provide a safe haven for kids in the neighborhood.
After you get past the mural, you quickly realize that the park itself has seen better days, with cracked pavement, no nets on the basketball hoops, and surrounded by vacant land. But if Jahmall Crandall of I.AM.SP and Jeffrey Tubbs of Urban Roots get their way, the park and several lots nearby will soon experience dramatic changes for the better.
Recently, they launched a Lucky Ant fundraising effort to undertake a “multi-phased community revitalization effort.” At the center of this plan is the renovation and revitalization of the basketball court, which they will call Rucker Park Philadelphia, after the famed court in Harlem. In addition to an improved basketball court, the South Philly Review tells us of plans for new play equipment, an urban farm, a business kiosk, new public art, and sidewalk and street resurfacing. Three lots across the street from the court have also been tabbed for new construction affordable housing units, ostensibly constructed by Tubbs, who has been involved with a couple of projects we’ve covered in the past including Flatz@2015 and the Flats at Girard Pointe.
To this point, the project has raised $241,340. Their fundraising goal in order to break ground is $275K, and their goal for achieving all that’s set out in the plans detailed above is $500K. Hopefully, this project will find the funding it seeks, and a tired public space and the surrounding community will get a huge boost. And even if they can’t get Doctor J to show up to the ribbon cutting, we’ll make it a point to be there.
If you’d like to make a contribution to this effort, click here.