This was event number 7 for VU PHL and if you think it was a lucky number, well, you might be right. It was cold, when the week before it was a brilliant 70 degrees and sunny, so not very lucky. It was bright and sunny, which is excellent, because it was 30 degrees (!), so that's lucky, right? And we had 22 bad ass, brave volunteers show up with us on a day where all of the other Parks & Rec volunteer groups were cancelled - so in the end I'd say we were pretty darn lucky!!
philadelphia department of Parks and recreation
For most of its history, Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers and playgrounds were managed by two separate city government departments: the Fairmount Park Commission, created in 1867, and the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, created in 1951. Founded in 1855, Fairmount Park represents one of the earliest endeavors in the American park movement. It wasn't until 2008 that Philadelphia created a merged department to oversee all 10,200 acres of open space in the city - now known as the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Today they oversee all of this space, as well as programming for those parks, buildings, and playgrounds, and many others. One of the key aspects of the success Parks and Rec has achieved is through partnerships with the communities they serve. Oftentimes, this cooperation is managed through a Friends Group, such as the Friends of Pleasant Hill Park who we partnered with this month!
friends of pleasant hill park
Currently there are more than 100 active Friends groups of varying capacity, ranging from large 501©3 organizations with several hundred members to grassroots community entities consisting of a smaller number of committed neighbors. The Friends of Pleasant Hill Park are definitely on the smaller end (about 30 members) but they do an amazing amount of work in their community.
Rick Mawson had been walking through the park with his granddaughter and now his dog for over 15 years. When the city made some improvements to the park that were in need of more maintenance than could be consistently provided, he and his neighbors stepped up to steward the park. They provide volunteer labor, programming for children and adults, and even host a competitive rugby team on their grounds!
Delaware River City Corporation
The Delaware River City Corp. (DRCC) exists in order to build, maintain and promote the North Delaware Greenway. This means just about the whole waterfront from Port Richmond to the Bucks County Line, which will be connected with the Central Delaware Waterfront (managed by Delaware River Waterfront Corporation) through a series of trails, green spaces, and parks. They manage volunteer events like ours - and our friends from United By Blue - on a regular basis and host fundraising events like their annual 5k to support their work.
This month we cleared and mulched some picnic areas, de-vined a fence in serious need, and chopped a bunch of nuisance plants out of the way to be replaced with trees including Arrowwood. We were so fortunate to help a group of partners who are skilled, organized, and passionate about what they do. With their continued efforts, we think Pleasant Hill Park will become a true gem in the Greater Northeast!
What better way to warm up then with a cold craft beer?! Just kidding, this author in particular opted for a delicious hand-pumped glass of Riverhorse Belgian Freeze! How ironic? Also, the pizzas were delicious, enormous, and, naturally, best enjoyed warm. There was plenty of competition to heat things up too - Taboo, giant Connect Four, and the biggest (and loudest) game of Jenga you can imagine!
Be sure to check out Crafty's Taproom next time you're in the neighborhood! You can find their menu, drafts, and more on their website.