Renovation set for field that was part of venue for Philly concert

Much of the grassy areas around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has fallen victim to a perfect storm of a major concert event immediately followed by torrential rains.

Von Colln Memorial Field, a playground and baseball diamond near the Parkway, was used as the two-day Made in America concert entrance and parking lot for vendor trucks. After load-out in the rain, it became a muddy bog.

Every year the Logan Square Neighborhood Association has a community-wide block party in mid-September on that field. This year’s event will be hampered by deep tire ruts.

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has the responsibility of cleaning up the turf around the Parkway. The renovation of the Van Colln field has been on the docket for years.

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“We worked with Live Nation and Fairmount Sports Association to push back the start of the field renovation until immediately after Labor Day — after the concert — so we could accomplish three things,” said Mark Focht, first deputy commissioner of parks and recreation. “Kids could play on the field over the summer; we could host a portion of the venue for Made in America on Labor Day; and then start construction immediately thereafter on the field renovation.”

Focht says the scheduled renovation, by the approval by City Council President Darrell Clarke, will cost $300,000. The cost of cleaning up the concert damage is still undetermined.

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