Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation will be building a new playground on the under-utilized Inn Yard Park in East Falls.
Saturday morning, the Friends of Inn Yard Park are hosting a discussion at Penn Charter School where community members will have the opportunity to recommend to the city what equipment should be included in the new playground.
Sarah Taylor, who has been helping to raise money for the park, is excited that after almost seven years of community involvement, Inn Yard Park will finally have its own playground.
She has lived in East Falls for almost a decade and is now the mother of two toddlers.
“Everyone in the neighborhood has to drive to the playgrounds,” she says, noting that Scotts Playground, near Sherman Mills, is too remote. The park is hidden under Roosevelt Boulevard and behind an apartment building.
“This is an opportunity to have a safe, visible, walkable, and play-able playground,” she said.
Inn Yard Park sits between Kelly Drive and Ridge Avenue next to the fire station in East Falls.
Aside from a basketball court and a few broken benches, the park is bare. Although it’s in plain sight of the Schuylkill River Trail, the park is unused and so unknown that it doesn’t even appear on Google Maps.
Neighbors had been trying for years to find funding, initially seeking assistance from KaBoom!, a non-profit that helps finance playgrounds.
The Friends of Inn Park raised several thousand dollars over a number of years, but recently city Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. pledged $170,000 from his “capital improvement funds” to help with the project.
Because the money is coming from the city, rather than from a non-profit or individuals in the community, Fairmount Park is responsible for deciding what is built and by whom.
In order for the playground to exist for many years, objects that require frequent maintenance will not be possible, including swings or anything made of plastic.
It is also Parks and Recreation’s policy not to build any house-like structure, which could be inhabited by the homeless.
The Friends of Inn Yard Park welcome anyone with design suggestions to attend a meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning in the Balderston Commons building at the William Penn Charter School. Sarah Taylor asks that people come with creative suggestions so the neighbors of East Falls can put together a wish list to present to the city.