When Mayor Michael Nutter talks about his days growing up around 52nd and Larchwood he makes it clear that the local library was a sacred place that made a difference in young and old lives.
That was a point well taken Monday when a packed greenhouse at the Fairmount Park Horticultural Center heard about what prompted a new plan to reinvent five public spaces in Philadelphia, including the Lovett Memorial Library and and its adjacent park in Mt. Airy.
The ongoing renovation and expansion of one of that neighborhood’s most essential resources by The Free Library of Philadelphia and Mt. Airy USA is getting a boost of $1.75 million. That’s part of an $11 million investment by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the William Penn Foundation to the Fairmount Park Conservancy’s “Reimagining the Civic Commons” initiative.
Phased improvements include plans to invigorate the land around Lovett Memorial Library with a park that will include a courtyard for library patrons, an outdoor quiet area for reading and reflection, a storytelling ring, a plaza along Germantown Avenue that will include café tables and chairs, a natural area for creative play and an amphitheater that will feature outdoor performances.