You may have noticed that in coordination with and using funds provided by
the Friends of Schuylkill River Park, volunteers have begun replacing the
Park's Benches. Noted in 2008 was substantial degradation of the benches,
including several that had broken boards. In response, the FSRP began
planning to repair the existing benches, a project that officially began in
Spring 2009. The procedure includes complete removal of all old wood and
bolts. This is the most challenging portion of the project as most bolts had
severe rust, which prevented unscrewing the bolts from the nuts. Instead, a
grinder was used to cut through bolts - a laborious process.
|Trying to unscrew rusty bolts
||Cutting the Old Wood off|
Using a grinder to cut through the bolts
Preparing the Frames and Replacing the wood
After bolt removal, the bench frames were primed and painted using a product
designed for metal surfaces. New boards were then cut to size and secured
using hot zinc dipped galvanized bolts and nuts, which are the most rust
resistant materials available for this application. Thus far 19 metal framed
benches in the park and 6 in the Garden (using Garden funds) have been
replaced - for a total of 26 benches. Additionally, we have begun replacing
the wood on the concrete sided benches in the dog run. Thus far we have
replaced the wood on all benches in the small dog run (3 in total) and
continue to work on the benches in the large dog run (7 in total). Once the
wood on all benches has had sufficient time to dry, it will be sanded and
sealed with a wood preservative product.
Derek is building a catapult
Cutting the new wood
Drilling holes for the new bolts
FSRP funded the planting of 8 new trees in Spring, 2009. The trees were planted by Steve Pascavitch and his crew from Awbury Arboretum. CCRA has generously agreed to contribute towards all of these trees.
Two dead Norway maple trees on Pine Street were replaced with serviceberry trees.
We replaced 2 dead trees on 25th Street with new locust trees.
We added a locust tree in an empty pit where there was no tree.
The dead redbud tree in the conversation area was replaced with another redbud.
The dangerous linden tree, at 25th and Delancey, was replaced with another linden.
The big willow in front of the dog run was replaced with a flowering cherry tree.
Markward Taney Playground
On Saturday, October 21st, 2006, the Markward Taney Playground Committee and Friends
of Schuylkill River Park celebrated the opening of the new Taney Playground located
at Taney and Pine Streets. The event marked the culmination of several years of lobbying
and fundraising to create a safe, fun and visually appealing recreation area in the
place of a formerly outdated playground. The playground is heavily used
by neighborhood schools and families as well as children from more distant parts of
the City through day camps, after school programs and sports leagues. Even visitors
to Philadelphia take advantage of the playground’s unique and central location along
the Schuylkill River in Center City as it is the closest playground to Center City hotels.
The rebuilding of Taney Playground has been a grassroots, community-wide effort. “Many
friends, neighbors, and members of our Philadelphia community joined together to make
the renovation of Taney Playground a reality,” said Lauren Wylonis, M.D, founder of
the Markward Taney Playground Committee. In addition to scores of donations from
individuals and businesses in the neighborhood, major funding was committed by both the
State ($60,000) and City ($100,000) thanks to the efforts of Senator Vincent Fumo, State
Representative Babette Josephs, Councilwoman Anna Verna, and Governor Ed Rendell.
The effort to rebuild Taney Playground was spearheaded by Dr. Wylonis in September of 2003.
A local resident whose twins used the playground, Dr. Wylonis believed the thousands of
children who used the playground as their backyard deserved better. She was appalled by
its dangerous and deteriorating condition, from rusted and exposed bolts to broken
equipment that posed serious safety hazards to children. The playground – with its poor
lighting and lack of maintenance - had also become a magnet for vagrants, vandals and
Dr. Wylonis formed the Markward Taney Playground Committee under the auspices of the
Friends of Schuylkill River Park. She recruited other residents in the neighborhood to
help her fundraise, lobby and generally raise awareness about the playground’s poor
condition. In September 2005, Councilwoman Anna Verna committed $100,000 to the capital
budget of the playground, allowing the committee to finally begin to move forward with
a major redesign and rebuilding. In the following months, numerous charettes, an open
house and a town meeting were held to solicit and incorporate feedback from community
stakeholders in the design process.
The new playground features a bright purple and yellow elevated walkway system with four slides and monkey
bars, accessed through stairs, ladders and a climbing wall. Bright red park benches,
some in the form of zoo animals, provide seating. A toddler play area replicates the
equipment for older children on a smaller scale. Special rubber surfacing is under all
the equipment, with swings abutting both play areas.
will continue in order to allow for landscaping and further playground amenities, as well
as ongoing upkeep of the playground.
View the Plan
Planting the Playground at SIYP 2007
In 2006, the Friends of Schuylkill River Park Board commissioned a landscape architect, Sara Schuh, to create a Master Plan for our park. Park users participated in several charrettes and task force meetings which provided a lot of input. The plans are a scaffolding to direct us. They are sketches and suggestions, not final plans. We don't have the money to implement many of the major changes yet, and construction must be done with approval from The Fairmount Park Commission. The plans suggest our direction as we refine and improve our park.
Read the Report in Adobe Reader
View some drawings: