PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, City and State officials, the NFL Foundation and Philadelphia Eagles, the William Penn Foundation, Rebuild Philadelphia and community members broke ground on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at the Kingsessing Recreation Center located in West Philadelphia. The event was the first of a Rebuild tri-groundbreaking series to celebrate Rebuild’s largest week of construction to date, over $60 million in investments, across three sites.
“We are excited to kick off our largest investment week to date here at the Kingsessing Recreation Center as Rebuild Philadelphia breaks ground on three renovation projects totaling over $60 million in investment,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Thanks to Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, State Representative Rick Krajewski, and the NFL Foundation and Philadelphia Eagles, the Kingsessing Recreation Center will undergo a historic transformation with major renovations to both the building and its athletic fields.”
The recreation center, adjacent to the neighboring Rebuild project site Kingsessing Library which is currently under construction since March 2023, is set to undergo major renovations to both the building and its athletic fields.
“I am excited to break ground on two more Rebuild projects in Southwest Philadelphia,” said Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District). “I grew up playing at the Kingsessing Recreation Center, so I know firsthand how transformative Rebuild’s improvements will be for our young people! By investing an additional $40 million in public spaces, we continue to show our Southwest neighbors during a time of rapid change that they deserve community resources that empower them to thrive!”
The over $25 million in improvements feature an artificial turf athletic field funded in part with a $200,000 donation by the NFL Foundation and Philadelphia Eagles, a new playground, an updated security system, accessibility upgrades, and more.
“The Philadelphia Eagles and NFL Foundation are proud to be a part of this Rebuild Project to renovate the Kingsessing Recreation Center,” said Philadelphia Eagles President Don Smolenski. “This project reflects a significant investment in our community. The renovated recreation center, which will include an artificial, multipurpose field, will be a community pillar that will provide increased access and opportunity for our city’s youth to learn, grow, and play in a safe, constructive environment.”
“As part of the Rebuild promise to acknowledge site history and collaborate with community members in design, we are confident that the updates to come at Kingsessing Recreation Center will reflect the community’s legacy and the youth’s future and aspirations,” said Rebuild Executive Director Kira Strong. “As one of the oldest recreational centers in the city, we look forward to preserving the historic nostalgia while implementing upgrades for a new flare.”
Totaling over $25 million in investment, the Kingsessing Recreation Center will be updated with the following:
- Accessibility upgrades including elevator, lifts, and accessible bathrooms
- New mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and telecom systems
- Updated sprinkler system
- Artificial turf sports field
- Improved stormwater management
- New playground with safety surface and accessible play equipment
- Improved internal pathways and stairs, lighting, gathering space and amenities
- Additional plantings
- Improvements to surface courts and furniture
“I’m very excited about all the Rebuild projects, especially renovations to the Kingsessing Library and Recreation Center in my own district. By investing in public spaces like rec centers and libraries, we’re taking an important step towards creating a Southwest Philadelphia that’s safer, more connected, and where everyone can thrive,” said State Representative Rick Krajewski.
“These investments are down payments on a brighter, more equitable, and thriving future for the city and its people,” said William Penn Foundation Executive Director Shawn McCaney. “No matter your neighborhood, race, or income level, every citizen of this city deserves to have access to high-quality, safe public spaces, and keeping Rebuild around through the next mayoral administration will help make that a reality.”
Throughout the process, Rebuild partners with community members to ensure the site renovations fit the Kingsessing community’s wants and needs. Recreation centers are critical to promote education and fitness for residents of all ages. It is equally as important for communities to have sheltered spaces that inspire creativity and togetherness.
“We are so excited to break ground on the Kingsessing Recreation Center – one of the oldest recreation centers in the city,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Interim Commissioner Orlando Rendon. “Everyday we work to meet the demand for high quality playgrounds, outdoor courts, and fields here in Southwest Philly and across the city. Major capital investments like this allow our Parks & Rec system to better serve local youth athletics programs and meet the growing demand for more places to play, learn, and grow right here in the city.”
The combination of Rebuild funding and community partnerships like the Philadelphia Eagles, Rebuild is able to fully deliver on the Rebuild promise to work closely with the community, understand their vision, and invest intentionally to deliver a quality resource in their neighborhood.