Philly’s Sharswood rec center gets upgrade

 The Sharswood  Athletic Recreation Center's drainage system, which has contributed to flooding, is one of the issues resolved during the work. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY

The Sharswood Athletic Recreation Center's drainage system, which has contributed to flooding, is one of the issues resolved during the work. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY

While the Philadelphia Housing Authority pushes ahead on a half-billion-dollar plan to remake the Sharswood neighborhood, volunteers are giving the area’s century-old recreation center a makeover.

In partnership with the housing authority, Habitat for Humanity volunteers have rehabbed 40 homes in Sharswood. They’re planning to build 21 homes in the spring.

But Habitat’s Corinne O’Connell said neighbors have also been asking for something else.

“One of the things that keeps coming up is the Athletic Recreation Center. Here is an anchor in this community and … it needs some TLC,” she said. “Habitat for Humanity knows a thing or two about how to build, how to fix.”

Darnetta Arce, who heads up the area’s civic association, said repairs are focused on the aging building and playground.

“It need to be handicapped accessible, the draining system out here when it rains it’s horrible,” she said.

Neighborhood volunteers joined with workers from a national home improvement chain to tackle the issues, as well as adding a garden and seating area for older residents as part of the work.

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