Neighborhood groups across the city are working hard to come together to learn and participate in Philly’s civic process, with hopes of building green spaces and dynamic gathering places, a few blocks at a time. The Friends of Seger Park are pleased to announce they have raised enough (with the help of a $500K grant from councilman Frank DiCicco and the Department of Recreation) for the first phase of their $1.4M two-phased renovation of the park, located on Lombard Street between 10th and 11th Streets. When it’s finished, the modernized park will feature all new playground equipment, ground furniture and landscape arrangements. Other phase-one improvements to the “attractive, safe and vibrant” park will include storm-water management and trees planted according to specific tree shade patterns designed to protect the green space and shield the sun. The tot lot, and young child’s playgrounds, will be moved to the western corridor of the playground along 11th street. As it is now, the playgrounds are on separate sides of the park. Parents often “have one eye in one direction and one eye in the other” trying to watch their kids, says Sabrina Erdely, a Friends spokesperson.
The work will be done by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, the firm responsible for Pennsports’ Herron sprayground and the new Giants Stadium (we refrain from the urge to talk trash on the G-Men). Phase two renovations, which may be a summer or two away, depending on how fast funds are raised, include a redesigned Lombard Street entrance with landscaping, benches, enough paved ground for “kids to ride their scooters” and to hold neighborhood rain/shine events. Those renovations will also include Seger Park’s own sprayground, an artistic element to be designed via a public water feature competition. Friends hope to raise additional money at their upcoming fourth annual Spring Festival on Sunday, May 15 and hope to break ground by the end of this summer. We’re looking forward to seeing some of the water feature designs Philly’s creative types come up with to keep us cool in the summer. —-Lou Mancinelli