State spending $200,000 on Tarken Rec

The money will go to an upgrade of the basketball court, possible installation of a mini soccer court and other projects.

State Rep. Jared Solomon and state Sen. Tina Tartaglione last week delivered a $200,000 grant to Tarken Recreation Center, an 8.9-acre site at 6250 Frontenac St. in Oxford Circle.

The money came from the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Keystone Communities Program.

Solomon and Tartaglione were joined by Kathryn Ott Lovell, commissioner of the city Department of Parks and Recreation; City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker; George Matysik, executive director of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance; and Sharon Calvin, a Frontenac Street block captain and Tarken advocate.

Youths from the Tarken summer camp cheered the donation, announced on Aug. 1.

“This is a lot of money,” Lovell said.

Lovell explained that the money will go to an upgrade of the basketball court, possible installation of a mini soccer court and other projects to be determined.

Solomon described Tarken as the “beating heart” of Oxford Circle.

Tarken has playground equipment, a sprinkler area, basketball courts, multiple sports fields, a recreation building and an ice rink. The center hosts a summer day camp for children ages 5–13 and Zumba fitness classes.

“This is a great rec center,” Solomon said.

DCED’s Keystone Communities Program fosters public-private partnerships.

Solomon thanked Calvin, who is forming an advisory council and teaming with Parker to bring security cameras to the center. He also credited Tarken’s Walt Mulholland with being a responsive recreation leader.

Solomon said rec centers need “love,” adding that Tarken could use some improvements to its tennis and basketball courts and playground equipment. He credited the WeLoveU foundation for cleaning up and weeding Tarken in March. He thanked Parker for voting for the city beverage tax, a portion of which is going to playgrounds.

Tartaglione described recreation centers as part of the tapestry of a community, and hopes to be part of future efforts to fund revitalization projects.

“If we have to do it one check at a time,” she said, “we’re going to do it.”

Lovell said attractive and safe rec centers are necessities, not niceties, adding that the beverage tax is necessary to fund projects. The city’s Rebuild initiative will spend $500 million on parks, rec centers and libraries.

Calvin, the neighborhood activist, loves the focus on Tarken.

“I look forward to all of us working together,” she said.

Solomon echoed that, saying, “This is the beginning of a long effort.” ••