PHILADELPHIA – March 20, 2017 – As part of a larger effort to highlight the need for Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild), Mayor Jim Kenney, joined by City Councilwoman Cindy Bass (8th District), Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, toured Happy Hollow Recreation Center today to observe the current state of the facility. A potential site for future Rebuild investment, Happy Hollow Recreation Center is in need of extensive renovations to the interior and exterior of the building, including kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and a new roof. Additionally, the site needs improvements to its playground, tennis courts, fields and more.
“With no air conditioning, a leaky roof and barely usable fields, Happy Hollow, like so many of Philadelphia’s recreation centers, parks and libraries, is in desperate need of investment,” said Mayor Kenney. “Every child, adult and senior deserves a recreation center that is safe, inviting and full of amenities, but for too many years, inadequate funding for improvements and maintenance has prevented many neighborhoods from having the community space they ought to. Rebuild can and will change that.”
Rebuild (Rebuilding Community Infrastructure) is a seven-year, $500 million investment in Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers, playgrounds and libraries. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia for all, Rebuild seeks to revitalize pivotal community spaces, while empowering and engaging communities and promoting economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion. Rebuild is a public private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.
“Rebuild is focused on building stronger, thriving communities through its revitalization, diversity and inclusion and community engagement efforts. With an investment in physical improvements, Happy Hollow could go from a facility in need to a modern community hub,” said Nicole Westerman. “While sites haven’t been selected for Rebuild investment yet, it is important to understand the current state of facilities across Philadelphia and the potential change investments at those sites could make.”
Located in the 8th Council District and represented by Councilwoman Bass, Happy Hollow Recreation Center has served Northwest Philadelphia since 1911 and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.
“Of all the potential sites in the Rebuild initiative, Happy Hollow represents one of our most critically needed investments,” said Councilwoman Bass. “The physical deterioration of the facility and the safety issues surrounding the area have challenged the neighborhood for years, so I welcome the opportunity to discuss with Mayor Kenney the ways in which Rebuild can provide our community with the high-quality recreational space it deserves.”
Happy Hollow Recreation Center is a 4.2-acre site that has a sports field, two basketball courts, two tennis courts and a KEYSPOT computer lab. It offers basketball, boxing and fitness training, as well as a soup kitchen, educational gardening program, after school program and iHolla Track Club.
“The capital problems we saw at Happy Hollow during our tour with Mayor Kenney and Councilwoman Bass are the exact issues Rebuild will address,” said Commissioner Ott Lovell. “Rebuild will ensure that every Philadelphian has the opportunity to enjoy public spaces that are safe, fun and inviting.”
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Source: Jolene Nieves Byzon, Managing Director’s Office
Photos: Samantha Madera/Mayor’s Office