Philly’s Rebuild chooses 61 sites for first round of $500 million improvement plan

Water fountain at a city recreation center (Courtesy Rebuild Philadelphia)

Water fountain at a city recreation center (Courtesy Rebuild Philadelphia)

Philadelphia’s massive Rebuild project is moving forward with plans for more than five dozen facilities to receive everything from a heater to a complete facelift in phase one — if the money is available.

The first round of the $500 million undertaking proposes improvements for sites “stretching all across the city, in different Council districts,” said David Gould, deputy director of the project.

That includes 23 playgrounds, 19 recreation centers, seven recreation center libraries, seven parks and five libraries. The plans call for work on stabilizing some buildings and making more programs available in troubled and unhealthy neighborhoods, according to Gould.

“This is just the first round of Rebuild sites,” he said. “We think it will be a six or so year program … just because a site isn’t here in the first year doesn’t mean it isn’t going to receive Rebuild investment.”

But financing the project depends on whether the city’s new tax on sweetened beverages is upheld in court.

“We hope to start on projects whether or not the beverage tax is resolved,” he said Thursday. “However, Rebuild cannot really happen without that beverage tax revenue. There is no replacement stream if the beverage tax falls through.”

City Council is reviewing the list of sites for the first round.

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