Philadelphia city leaders reveal new changes for FDR Park, including welcome center and play space

Some changes are coming to FDR Park, in South Philadelphia, as the city unveiled plans for a new welcome center and play space.

"We come here to enjoy ourselves," remarked Al Hawkins.

It’s not unusual to see Hawkins taking a stroll around FDR Park. For him, the 348 acres are nostalgic as he has been visiting the location since he was a young boy and hosting annual family reunions.

"It’s a place where you can relax," Hawkins added.


City leaders said the master plan for the park ensures it still will be in the future environmentally-friendly and meeting the needs of what people want.

They unveiled the designs for two new projects Wednesday. The guardhouse at the park’s Broad Street and Pattison Avenue entrance will transform into a welcome center, equipped with a courtyard, equipment rentals, food vendors and bathrooms.

"Bathrooms? I don’t think there’s any bathrooms close by here," mom Kat Smith stated. She liked the idea of adding bathrooms.

A play space adjacent from the welcome center with paths, a climbing structure and treehouses and a mega-swing set will also be added.

Mayor Jim Kenney said it’s a $50 million capital investment.

"This investment in the master plan is our down payment on making sure future generations of Philadelphia families can enjoy this park in the same way I did and countless families have for over 100 years," Mayor Kenney explained.

"This is the most diverse and inclusive park that’s utilized in the city," Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson added.

The announcement comes as city leaders grapple with surging gun violence.

Teachers with Brilliant Minds Academy brought their little ones for the announcement and see hope in providing more safe spaces and outlets for kids.

"Studies show trees allow you to breathe and let off anxiety. Studies show that a bike ride will let you release a lot of endorphins where you won’t have to do it in a negative way, so when we’re here, we applaud the bit picture," a Brilliant Minds Academy teacher stated.



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