PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Wednesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, accompanied by City officials, Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia, and community members, commenced the groundbreaking ceremony at Lawrence E. Murphy Recreation Center located in South Philly. With an investment of $7.5 million, the improvements to Murphy Rec Center became a reality through the city’s Rebuild program, part of Philadelphia’s historic investment of $500 million in public spaces. In addition, the program was supported by Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia with a commitment of $750,000 for this project.
“What a great day to be in South Philadelphia, where I grew up, to celebrate the groundbreaking of Murphy Rec Center,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I remember when I was a kid playing here at Murphy, I always felt safe and joyful. The children of South Philly can now have that same feeling here at Murphy.”
“Murphy Rec is personal to me. My friends and I played on this field when we were young, as did my children and their friends, so it is very gratifying for me to be a part of this great Rebuild renovation project! Generations of Philadelphia children have used the field for many years, despite its condition. Now I can look forward to my grandchildren and their friends playing on a state-of-the-art field,” said Mark Squilla, Councilmember (1st district).
In 1964, this site was renamed in honor of Lawrence E. Murphy. Lawrence was a dedicated employee of the recreation department for 37 years and worked at this site when it was known as Greenwich Recreation Center. The improvements coming to Murphy Recreation Center were informed by Rebuild’s deep community engagement process aggregating feedback and design ideas from neighbors.
“Rebuild is so excited to kick off investments here at Murphy Rec,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director for Rebuild. “Our community engagement process showed a deep love of outdoor sports like baseball, soccer, softball and football. We’re so excited for this community to get the upgraded facilities they deserve.”
“Giving back to the communities where our employees and guests live and work is in our DNA at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia,” said Joe Billhimer, Chief Operating & Development Officer at Cordish Gaming Group. “The South Philadelphia community welcomed us with open arms when we opened our property two short years ago, so we’re thrilled to partner with Rebuild and the City of Philadelphia to give these South Philly families a safe place to come together and create lasting memories. These families deserve the very best and we can’t wait to welcome them to the transformed Murphy Rec Center later this year.”
Totaling $7.5 million in investment, the Murphy Rec Center will be updated with the following:
- Synthetic turf athletic fields for baseball, softball, football and soccer with new baseball and softball backstops and ball control netting
- New site lighting, team benches and spectator bleachers
- Prefabricated storage building with electrical connection
- Combination soccer/football goalposts
- New chain link fencing
- New concrete sidewalk in the interior of the site
- Brand new outdoor basketball courts with new standards
- Replacement of below grade areaway drains and associated piping
- New exterior steps from the sidewalk
- New louvered steel door and frame
- Masonry repairs
These updates will also include sidewalk reconstruction in portions of the right-of-way of the perimeter of the site, including expanded tree pits and replacement of select trees. Murphy will also receive a maintenance vehicle for servicing and maintaining the synthetic turf field.
Through the combination of Rebuild funding and community partnerships like Live! Philadelphia, 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.
“Philadelphia is in need of quality field space for our young people to come together to practice and compete with peers who become lifelong friends through sport,” said Orlando Rendon, Acting Commissioner of Parks and Recreation. “The addition of this high-quality field to our parks and rec inventory will provide the much-needed field time that our South Philly youth sports organizations so desperately need.”
After the groundbreaking ceremony, Welcome America hosted a block party celebration in honor of the community that will soon see the revitalization of its recreation center and playground.