Upgrades unveiled at Capitolo

Contributed photo

The city’s soccer footprint was enlarged with the completion of a new project at Capitolo Playground. 

City officials joined the Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer to cut the ribbon on a $1 million investment in youth sports at the 4.1-acre site at 900 Federal St. in South Philly. 

“Capitolo’s rich history of youth sports programming is no secret to Philadelphians,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, commissioner of Parks and Recreation. “Investments like this one at Capitolo are critical to ensure our kids have safe and ready-to-use community assets for generations to come.”

The improvements include a brand-new mini-pitch for youth soccer events. It is one of 15 mini-pitches that have been committed to the city by the Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. They will also provide two full-size signature fields in locations across Philadelphia.

“It’s our mission to grow the game of soccer, and it’s our privilege to work with the City and the Philadelphia Union to build these mini-pitches,” said Chris Branscome, CEO fo Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. “The children of this community, and those of our future sites, deserve to have well-maintained and safe fields to play on. This field will provide for great fun, fitness and friendships.” 

The goal of the partnership was to expand on the city’s Rebuild investments to grow the game of soccer.

“The Philadelphia Union Foundation’s mission is, above all else, to grow the beautiful game by providing safe, accessible areas to play soccer throughout our city,” said Paul Howard, executive director, Philadelphia Union Foundation. “Our vision has become a reality with the opening of Capitolo Playground’s mini-pitch alongside our dedicated city, corporate and community partners.”

The mini-pitch was just part of the improvements made to the park. The second phase of the Capitolo project included regraded and uplifted athletic fields, including two new youth soccer fields; additional shade trees and outdoor gathering areas with ADA-accessible seating along

Passyunk Avenue; improvements to fencing along the community garden; the creation of an ADA-accessible entrance at 10th and Wharton streets; new bleacher and team benches for spectators and players; and new yard hydrants for irrigation.

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“I am so excited that the Capitolo field is now open for our youth and community members to use and enjoy,” said City Councilmember Mark Squilla. “I thank all the stakeholders – Passyunk Square Civic Association members, the Capitolo Advisory Council and Friends Group. Together, we worked on a project that improved Capitolo as our neighborhood gem. We will continue to collaborate on maintaining the facility for future generations.”

The city’s Rebuild initiative is an investment in neighborhood public spaces, which include parks, recreation centers and libraries.

“There’s no greater example of Philadelphia’s love of soccer than right here at Capitolo Playground,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Week after week, thousands of athletes from all backgrounds come to compete and have fun. These improvements will celebrate and support this tradition, and serve the incredible South Philadelphia community for years to come.”

Capitolo is just one of many sites that will be having similar ceremonies this year. The city is in the midst of cutting the ribbon on more than $30 million worth of projects this summer.

“Rebuild’s promise to communities acknowledges the unique history at each of our sites. Here at Capitolo, the vibrant culture of sports, especially soccer, is electrifying,” said Kira Strong, executive director of Rebuild. “Many thanks to the neighbors, teams and youth who helped guide this project to where we are today.”