Fourteen community volunteers traveled to Frankford and Solly avenues on July 25 to clean a portion of Pennypack Park. But upon their arrival, they found a disaster area instead.
The piles of debris strewn around the paved recreation path and alongside the creek offered ample evidence that folks don’t seem to be using the park’s facilities for their intended purposes. Instead of using picnic areas elsewhere — such as the ones next to the “Little City” parking lots off of Rhawn Street and in the Pennypack on the Delaware park off of State Road — hundreds of visitors have been setting up their cookouts on the banks of the creek, treating it as a makeshift beach. In fact, there’s a lot of illegal swimming going on there, too.
“The families are nice and attempt to clean up,” wrote Nance Kerns, who organizes the monthly cleanups for the Friends of Pennypack Park, for the group’s newsletter. “However, this area lacks the requisite picnic amenities (such as) adequate trash cans, bathrooms, picnic tables and spent charcoal repositories … We will be discussing this with city officials soon.”
The volunteers worked a combined 45.5 hours and removed 35 bags of debris from the park, along with two bags of recyclable cans. Among the objects found in the woods were a bookbag, two comforters, a blanket, bed linens, a sleeping bag, eating utensils, a pair of jeans, a mop, part of a window air conditioner, a pair of hiking boots, a jacket, five flip-flops, swim goggles, a hula hoop, a jump rope and a fresh red onion that was growing out of some trash.
Volunteers included Vicki Schempp, John Sherman, Ken Lewis, Sondra Greenberg, Jacob Garttmier, Karen Kaczorek, Alan Ostrow, Robert McMunn, Roland Williams, Jim Smyth, Kevin Sweetra, Bill Henderson, George Scholl and Nance Kerns. The group got an assist from a Streets Department trash truck crew who took away the full trash bags. And while in the park, they met two local residents who have been keeping the playground area near the Frankford Avenue Bridge free of litter.
The next FOPP cleanup will be on Saturday, Aug. 22, at the ball field on Holme Avenue behind Nazareth Hospital from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In case of excessive heat or rain, call 215–934-PARK for cancellation information. All volunteers are welcome and should wear long pants and sneakers, hiking boots or work boots. They may also consider bug spray and sunscreen. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The FOPP will supply work gloves, bags, tools, snacks and refreshments. Email questions to FOPPMonthlyCU@aol.com. ••