In Queen Village, plans are developing for the revitalization of a site once referred to by local youths as “Broken-Glass Park.” Those involved envision their park will become an innovative 21st-century urban enclave.

Over the past decade, the Friends of Weccacoe Playground (FWP) have worked to clean the 3/4-acre public park situated between Catharine, Queen, Leithgow, and Lawrence Streets, and rebrand it as a desirable community destination. In 2001, the city implemented park upgrades that included new play equipment, a safety surface mat, new benches and trees. But the Friends have maintained the plant beds, pruned the trees, removed trash, and managed the tennis courts and play area.

The playground

Adjacent tennis courts

Now, those basic, decade-old renovations are in need of a modernization and an upgrade. In collaboration with the Community Design Collaborative, local design firms Austin and MergoldGardner/Fox Associates, members of the Queen Village Neighborhood Association  and other significant stakeholders, the FWP recently released a Conceptual Plan for Revitalization that was formulated over the past two years.

Sign of things to come

It’s a 128-page comprehensive look at the playground’s current state, a discussion of its history, and a plan to make Weccacoe one of the City’s finest. It includes maintenance recommendations, numerous sketches and renderings, minutes from meetings where plans were discussed, various cost estimates, and more. A low-end projection puts the cost of improvements just under $200K. A high-end projection puts it just shy of $450K.

Proposed site plan for the park

Highlights of the plan include improvement to the building that serves as the park office of sorts, including the addition of a green roof and an updated community room. An improved park would feature a new playground, a garden, an outdoor learning area, a spray fountain, and a shaded mini-trail. Planners took nods from Frederick Law Olmsted’s Central Park in New York and other excellent parks around the world.

A slightly terrifying rendering

We’re impressed with the scope of this project and the vision that the involved parties have of creating a beautiful world-class 21st-century park, while at the same time striving for transparency. It’s these types of projects, steeped in commitment and collaboration, that will define Philadelphia for decades to come.

–Lou Mancinelli