Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilman Mark Squilla joined Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell Monday to celebrate the ribbon cutting of a new playground at Capitolo Park and Playground in East Passyunk. They also announced that the park would receive a new investment in the near future as part of the city’s Rebuild program.
The first stage of the Rebuild improvements at Capitolo will be the installation of critical security cameras. Rebuild is the city’s initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. The program is funded by the city’s soda tax passed in 2016.
“Through Rebuild, we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in our neighborhood parks, rec centers and libraries,” Kenney said. “The Rebuild team is engaging residents in Capitolo and the Advisory Council to ensure that the investment made in this park will benefit the community. I look forward to seeing the positive impact Rebuild has on neighbors across Philadelphia.”
In 2017, the Capitolo Park Advisory Council met with Squilla to request an updated playground to meet the needs of the growing number of neighborhood children. With funding from Squilla and design and construction carried out by Parks and Recreation, the advisory council celebrated the completion of the new playground. The total cost was $350,000. The security cameras are expected to be installed this month at a cost of $40,000, according to Rebuild spokeswoman Maita Soukup.
“This community is passionate about athletics and its children,” Squilla said. “It has been a true honor to work alongside the park’s advisory council and neighborhood residents to build a new playground here and begin planning for the additional improvements to come, thanks to Rebuild. Capitolo is being transformed, and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this transformation.”
Following the installation of security cameras this month, Rebuild will begin the next phase of investment in Capitolo by meeting with the advisory council and residents to learn what improvements they want to see for this popular park and small recreation building. These could include improvements to the fields, basketball courts, or currently inoperable spray ground. According to Soukup, there currently isn’t any money earmarked to spend on the playground just yet. The details of how much money will be spent on playground improvements will be clearer once the Rebuild team has interacted with all the Rebuild communities to get a sense for what each neighborhood wants to see in its park.
Sarah Anton, president of the Passyunk Square Civic Association, said she’d like to see drainage for the soccer fields, the fixing of the spray ground and some work done inside the recreation center.
Capitolo is just one of Rebuild’s 64 initial sites targeted for improvement around the city.