South Philadelphia rec center gets multi-million dollar overhaul

The Vare Recreation Center is getting much needed rehabilitation and leaders hope the facelift provides more than just a safe space for kids to play.

"This is a massive part of this community, this is a massive place for kids," Eagles Center Jason Kelce said.

Football stars, elected city officials and community members braved the warm South Philadelphia sun, Wednesday, to celebrate the ground-breaking of a massive rebuilding of an iconic Philly recreation center.


"Let me just say this – our kids deserve this. They deserve quality spaces," Mayor Kenney remarked.

The project, spearheaded by the Rebuild Project and funded, in part, by the city’s soda tax, will bring a plethora of state-of-the-art centers to the area.

"The new Vare will be close to 19,000 square feet. It will have a 7,000 square foot indoor basketball gym, with bleachers. An almost 5,000 square foot gymnastic gym with brand new equipment," Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell stated.

It will also include two outdoor basketball courts and a synthetic turf field, among other upgrades.

It’s not the only city space getting a facelift. In West Philadelphia, a brand new Kobe Bryant Dream Court was unveiled at the Tustin Recreational Playground. Locals are happy to see it open.

"Man, just the smiles on their faces and the fact that they are receiving some type of love to have a fun and great environment," remarked Taqiy Muhammad, with Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Both of the efforts, according to community leaders, is much more about saving our streets than providing a place to simply play.

"This is a place to really be a kid, have fun, play, be safe. And, it’s great for the community," Kelce added.

The expected completion date is the end of 2023.