PHILADELPHIA, PA — on Wednesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District), Pennsylvania State Speaker of the House of Representatives Joanna McClinton, students from the Add B. Anderson School, and community members celebrated the reopening of Cobbs Creek Nature Playground located in West Philadelphia. The improvements at Cobbs Creek were made possible by the city’s Rebuild program, Philadelphia’s $500 million investment in public spaces.
The new Cobbs Creek Nature Playground combines modern and unique features to create a nature-themed play oasis. All play equipment was made out of refurbished solid wood and the playground was designed around the existing trees. The playground itself has been strategically and creatively designed to cultivate imaginative play with ample swinging and climbing structures.
“I’m grateful to see the vision for this site come to fruition just in time for summer,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Cobbs Creek Playground has been an integral part of the West Philadelphia community, and now it’s a space where the community can safely play and proudly call their own.”
“I am so excited that just in time for summer, Cobbs Creek will have this new-state-of-the-art playground to gather, build community, and play! Like many neighborhoods, Cobbs Creek is struggling with gun violence, which is why now more than ever this community’s young people need access to world-class public resources,” said Councilmember Gauthier (3rd district). “I cannot wait to hear about all the memories Cobbs Creek’s children will make this summer — and for generations to come — at the new playground!”
The investments into the playground is part of more than $25 million in investments coming to Cobbs Creek through Rebuild. Community members will see improvements to the Nature Playground, Environmental Center, Johnny Sample (Cobbs Creek) Recreation Center, and Blanche A. Nixon (Cobbs Creek) Library.
Totaling $1.6 million in investment, the improvements at Cobbs Creek include:
- New nature-themed, solid wood, play equipment including swings, climbing, colorful play mounds, and water misters to foster imaginative play.
- Safety surfaces
- Water fountain
- Newly planted trees
- On-site seating (made from refurbished tree stumps and logs)
- Lawn area
- Concrete walking paths
- Updated signage
- Trash receptacles
- Pedestrian lighting and security cameras
Cobbs Creek Nature Playground is also one of many projects throughout the city to introduce playful learning. Playful learning is the action of implementing small elements in a public space that naturally stimulate curiosity and ultimately lead children and parents toward a certain learning objective. At the Nature Playground, additions have been added to the site to inspire playful learning, including:
- Puzzle walls
- Textured turtle play equipment
- Interactive panels at low eyesight for children
- Literacy wall
“The renovations here at Cobbs Creek will provide West Philadelphia families with imaginative outdoor space to grow and play,” said Rebuild Executive Director Kira Strong. “I always say that all Rebuild sites are for the entire community, beyond the play equipment, this site’s paved nature path and preserved trees are for all ages to enjoy.”
The project at Cobbs Nature Playground was funded in part with American Rescue Plan funding facilitated by the Department of Community and Economic Development – State Speaker Joanna McClinton of the House and Representative for the Cobbs Creek neighborhood played a major role in advocating for this support.
“I am proud to call Cobbs Creek home for many reasons, but especially because it is a great community for neighbors of all ages,” said Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton. “When community members and elected leaders collaborate, we can make beautiful things happen, and the restoration of the Cobbs Creek Playground is a perfect example of what we can achieve.”
“Seeing children and adults enjoy the new playground together is why the Rebuild program is so important,” said Commissioner, Parks & Recreation, Kathryn Ott Lovell. “These children are our future, and we must provide them with all possible resources to be successful, and that includes equitable community spaces.”