In 2011-12, the SGCDC partnered with the City of Philadelphia and the Department of Parks & Recreation to revitalize the Roberto Clemente Playground, an initiative spearheaded by City Council President (and 5th District Councilman) Darrell Clarke. Working closely with the City’s architects, the SGCDC contributed significant funds for additional improvements to the site (over and above the City-funded rehab of the play area and sprayground), including for estate style fencing; decorative gates and arches; curbing, gardens and planting areas; enhanced landscaping; decorative pavers; a pergola; repaving the basketball court; and many other amenities. SGCDC staff also helped oversee the installation of the SGCDC-sponsored amenities.
Since 2011-12, the SGCDC has continued its Playground revitalization activities, by funding and installing upgrades to the rec center and the site and providing a security camera system.
The SGCDC has assumed the daily maintenance responsibilities for the site. It has provided SGCDC employees as daily maintenance staff to sustain the capital improvements made, and the previous investment of 2011-12, to keep the site sparkling clean and well-tended, and to assure that the Playground improvements would continue to be properly maintained and that the Playground would remain a first-class resource for our community and visitors. SGCDC plants spring flowering bulbs and annuals; implements regular equipment servicing, repair and replacement programs; and its staff carry out daily sweeping and litter removal, cleaning (both inside and outside of the Rec Center), and planting,weeding, and watering of the plants.
The SGCDC also provides staff for the Roberto Clemente after-school program, summer day camp, Playground oversight/monitors, and scholarships for summer day camp fees.
The SGCDC has been designated as a Rebuild Partner in a City-wide program to revitalize City PArks, Rec Centers and Libraries, including Roberto Clemente. The Clemente Project has not yet been funded by the City, as other sites are more in need of a makeover.
Despite the 2011-12 capital investment and partial dramatic revitalization of Clemente, much remains to be done. The rusted chain link fence on the ball field sides of the Playground needs to be replaced with a fence that is more aesthetically pleasing and more in sync with the historic homes that abut the Playground, including both market rate and affordable residences. The ball field needs a complete makeover. The rec center needs to be expanded, with windows installed to allow for light and fresh air to circulate, and the addition of a second floor, and its antiquated infrastructure replaced, to better accommodate our community residents and expanded programming. The leaky roof needs repair or replacement, and the plumbing (which constantly clogs) also needs to be improved. The facility needs central air conditioning installed to make it more comfortable for the children in the warm weather, and for the summer camp indoor activities and the after-school program. (The only air conditioning presently at the site are the window units purchased and installed by the SGCDC). Other significant improvements and expansions are also needed to make the currently cramped site a true Community Center for Spring Garden, and our local youths and families.