Mayor Jim Kenney, Rebuild, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association and community members last week celebrated the ribbon cutting of Rebuild’s site at Gifford Playground, 575 Tomlinson Road.
“I am excited to be here celebrating this brand new playground and soccer mini-pitches in Northeast Philadelphia,” Kenney said. “We are proud of our nearly $1 million investment here at Gifford. It’s a treat to see and hear kids enjoying a safe and vibrant playground, and knowing families will get to cheer on their loved ones at soccer games on these mini-pitches and make new memories together.”
Totaling nearly $1 million in renovations, Gifford Playground now has refinished surfaces, new fences, updated gates and soccer mini-pitches on its 6-acre site. The two mini-pitches constructed at Gifford received funding from Rebuild’s partnership with EPYSA and the Philadelphia Union Foundation.
“We dedicate this safe haven for soccer to the children, families and people of Gifford Playground. We hope these pitches will become a place where friendships are forged and the love of the game is born,” said Philadelphia Union Foundation Executive Director Paul Howard.
“Somerton has produced many wonderful soccer players and coaches over the years,” said Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer CEO Chris Branscome. “We’re proud to provide this mini-pitch to allow for a new generation of players to develop and enjoy our great game.”
Gifford Playground is among Rebuild’s 17 completed projects citywide with many currently undergoing community engagement, design or construction. Throughout the design process, Rebuild always prioritizes ensuring the site renovations fit the local community’s wants and needs.
“From north to south and east to west, Rebuild has made a promise to impact every section of the Philadelphia community, and today solidifies our promise,” said Rebuild Executive Director Kira Strong. “It’s been wonderful working with the community in the Northeast and we’re excited to acknowledge and present them with the type of facilities they need and deserve.”
After the ribbon cutting, children and youth from the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Soccer League celebrated with a community event that included interactive activities provided by the Union Foundation and EPYSA.
“Our rec centers provide safe and inclusive spaces where young people learn important life skills, build character and develop a sense of belonging,” said Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Deputy Commissioner of Programs Bill Salvatore. “Investments like these are key to supporting our department’s mission to provide high-quality impactful programs.” ••