Philly, nonprofit digging in on project to green up schoolyards with parks

 Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke, Schools Superintendent William Hite and others break ground for a schoolyard with students from the Alexander Adaire School, where the public green space will be located in Philadelphia's Fishtown section.  (Bobby Allyn/WHYY)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke, Schools Superintendent William Hite and others break ground for a schoolyard with students from the Alexander Adaire School, where the public green space will be located in Philadelphia's Fishtown section. (Bobby Allyn/WHYY)

City officials have broken ground for a new schoolyard and public park in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood.

The new green space for the Alexander Adaire School is one of more than 20 new schoolyards the city and nonprofit partners hope to complete in the next five years.

The goal is to create more green spaces in Philadelphia neighborhoods, said Anthony Cucchi, the state director for the Trust for Public Land.

The park slated to open in front of the Adaire School will have more benefits than meet the eye, Cucchi said, such as combating what he calls “the urban heat island effect.”

“In neighborhoods that lack green space, temperatures during the summer are significantly higher than they are in suburban spaces,” Cucchi said. “So by creating green spaces, we’re bringing those temperatures down.”

Another perk, he said, involves stormwater management. The Adaire school park will trap and reuse rain water, so it never ends up in the city’s sewer system.

“The green schoolyard at Adaire school teaches our students firsthand what it means to protect and conserve resources,” said William Hite, Philadelphia School District superintendent.

During a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney also had kind words, praising the partnership between city officials and private collaborators.

The park is a “permanent example of how partnerships between city departments and nonprofits can have a positive and lasting impact in our neighborhoods and the environment,” Kenney said. 

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