City officials and Frankford residents met last week to discuss a $345,000 project to rebuild the play area at Deni Playground, 1381 Ruan St.
The project is going to include new playground equipment, benches, a gazebo, renovated landscaping, new asphalt and a picnic area with tables.
Seventh District Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez and officials from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation said crews are expected to begin the renovation in April and the playground should be ready by June or July.
“We know Deni, for the folks who live around it, is very important,” Quinones-Sanchez said.
The project coincides with a similar effort at nearby Simpson Recreation Center, 1010 Arrott St., which is also getting a new playground.
Parks and Recreation officials presented a design for Deni that includes two separate play areas, one for children ages 2 to 5 and another for kids ages 5 to 12. The play set for younger children will be surrounded by an asphalt tricycle track.
A gazebo and picnic tables will be set up in another area of the park for residents who want to sit down or hold a get together.
Several neighbors at the meeting asked what the plan is for the old tennis court area, which has become overgrown. Quinones-Sanchez said that portion of the park is not part of this project, but she urged residents to start thinking about whether they want the city to restore the courts or put something else in that space.
Quinones-Sanchez also asked neighbors to formalize a Park Friends group. Having a support organization for the park partnered with Parks and Recreation will be important for future improvements, she said.
In response to other comments by residents, Quinones-Sanchez said she will look into adding LED lights and cameras to the project to increase security. She and Parks and Recreation officials also agreed to look into fixing up and reopening the bathrooms, which neighbors said have been locked for a significant period of time.
There was some discussion about the gates surrounding the fields being locked. Parks and Recreation officials said they will have employees from Simpson come down to open the fields.
Quinones-Sanchez said another meeting about the playground will be scheduled in March before construction begins.
State Rep.-elect Joe Hohenstein and 23rd Ward Democratic leader Timothy Savage also attended the meeting. Quinones-Sanchez thanked Savage for pushing to make rebuilding Deni a priority. ••
Jack Tomczuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org