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Big donation from Live! to improve Murphy Rec

The ongoing renovations at Lawrence E. Murphy Recreation Center received a helping hand from its 2-year-old neighbor.

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia celebrated its second anniversary at 900 Packer Ave. on Feb. 6 by giving a $750,000 donation to the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild program, which is working on a $4.5 million major renovation at Murphy Recreation Center at 300 Shunk St. The contribution will allow Rebuild to finish the $4.5 million project scheduled to be completed in the fall. 

“Rebuild is proud to invest in the improvements at Murphy Recreation Center and it would not be possible without the generous contribution from Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia,” said Kira Strong, executive director of Rebuild. “Through the combination of City and Rebuild funding, and incredible community partnerships like Live!, we are able to deliver on the Rebuild promise to engage with the community to understand their vision and invest intentionally to deliver a quality resource in their neighborhood.”

Proposed items for the 4.9-acre park include a brand new, multi-sport synthetic turf field with upgraded lighting that will be striped for soccer, baseball, softball and football. There will be brand new outdoor basketball courts and basketball stands, repaved sidewalks around the perimeter of the entire site and exterior improvements to address any potential leaking to the basement. 

The park also features playground equipment, a pool and a five-room building that has a gymnasium and multipurpose rooms.

The announcement was celebrated at the casino with a Mummers string band performance and spirited cheers for the Philadelphia Eagles prior to their Super Bowl appearance. Mayor Jim Kenney piggybacked on the city’s excitement for its professional football team and hoped the new fields will be the starting point for the next local superstar.

Rebuild is Kenney’s visionary initiative to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Philadelphia neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries. Through these investments, Rebuild will improve 70-plus public spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote diversity and economic opportunity in the design and construction industries.

“The energy in our city is electric right now and today’s celebration fuels even more excitement, especially in South Philadelphia,” Kenney said. “The soon-to-be improved recreation center is a dynamic, accessible hub for children, families and residents to play and gather. The upgrades make room for new opportunities and connections, and it may even be the homefield of the next NFL star. My administration and I are looking forward to seeing the memories that will be made in this space.”

The $750,000 donation brings the casino’s investment in the Rebuild project to $2.3 million in just two years. 

“Live! Philadelphia is proud to partner with Rebuild Philadelphia to help bring such a worthwhile project to fruition,” said Joe Billhimer, Chief Operating & Development Officer at Cordish Gaming Group. “Murphy Recreation Center has served as a hub for community gathering for decades in South Philly. As a family-owned business, we can appreciate how important it is for families to have a safe place to come together. They deserve the best and we look forward to going on this transformational journey with them.”

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