City officials, recreation leaders and students indigenous the our Lady of harbor Richmond school, ceremonially broke ground at Glavin playground on Sept. 30, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/

A gaggle that 11-year-old football players in Olney Eagles jerseys crowded approximately a swingset in ~ Olney Recreation center in phibìc Philadelphia, marveling at the poster that a slick architectural rendering that was tape-recorded to a pole.“They’re placing a park ideal here? Oooooo!” Xavier Hoover exclaimed.“That’s what our ar is walk to it is in looking like?” asked Naomi Eldemire, that goes come the center nearly every day to play basketball and practice football.“That’s the entirety park, bro!” Xavier said.Anticipation and also nostalgia mingled as the players questioned the $16 million reinvention that the well-worn, 13.6-acre recreational basic that has actually served because that generations together a neighborhood backyard, beat zone, and also safe space.
“It’s just an excellent how castle redoing every little thing in the building. We’ll get turf and all that,” Xavier said.“It’s walking to be better,” Naomi said.

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The young players to be joined Thursday evening at Olney by dozens of ar members and also city officials for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The was among three such events Mayor Jim Kenney attend in rapid sequence that day as he sought to draw attention to development on his $400 million-plus Rebuild public functions program, which will fund the work using proceeds from the city’s taxation on sugary beverages.As part of the Rebuild program, the city will demolish and also rebuild the center, first constructed in 1957, with meeting rooms, classrooms, a kitchen, and also a computer system room. Home builders will renovate the gym, placed in a new cooling and heating system, update basketball and tennis courts, and also install a new track, turf field, playgrounds, pathways, and picnic areas.


Developing a workforce

For those choose Councilmember Cherelle Parker who took political warmth for supporting the soda tax, the week’s groundbreakings were occasion for a victory lap. In ~ the Olney event Thursday evening, Park referred to as the site’s comes renovation a “transformational opportunity” because that a neighborhood that has “long to be one the lacked investment.”

“Olney Eagles, this has actually been a lengthy time coming,” she called the football football player in the crowd. “We travel to the suburbs, and then the suburbs have had actually to travel here, to our less-than-subpar conditions. Happily for us, we will certainly now give this community the top quality that that deserves.”

She praised Kenney’s advocacy because that the soda taxation in the face of solid opposition, relenten it as a bold move to money updates to the city’s aging to chat facilities and also comparing it to the trillion-dollar facilities bill chairman Joe Biden is struggling come shepherd v Congress.

Kenney said, in turn, the he was urged by the need to carry out children v safe places to play.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney posed v students from ours Lady of harbor Richmond school after a ceremonial groundbreaking at Glavin playground top top Sept. 30, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/

“That’s not much for them to ask for. We have actually to administer that because that them,” he said. “You’re right, it to be hard, getting civilization to know that a little bit of tax on your soda was no that important, compared to what it’s walk to be able to provide.”

Also on hand in ~ the groundbreaking to be Jewell Antoine-Johnson, a Camden-based architect whose construction management certain is overseeing the work at Olney. Johnson will serve together a representative the Public health and wellness Management Corp., the non-profit selected by the city to lead the project.

“For me, it’s full circle, due to the fact that as a double minority, an african American woman, i feel mine duty to frequently give back in any means that ns can,” Antoine-Johnson said. “Whether that’s make the efforts to have minority joining on the projects I water level or giving back in some small way, by gaining youth connected in the building industry.”

In addition to its goals of employing minority-led firms and also a varied cohort the laborers, Rebuild likewise encompasses a wider suite that workforce advance programs meant to bring an ext people of shade into construction-related fields.

They encompass Rebuild Ready, which teaches service management skills and help participants acquire Rebuild contracts; two programs to aid skilled workers acquire membership in the city’s largely white building trades unions; and also the arising Vendors Program, which helps firms qualify for certification as minority-owned companies and also receive choice for city contracts.

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Glavin Playground in Philadelphia’s harbor Richmond ar in set to obtain a makeover via the city’s Rebuild program. (Kimberly Paynter/

Ninety businesses room enrolled in Rebuild Ready, and 44 have been authorized for arising Vendors, follow to Rebuild officials.