East Falls Local

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Just Push Play

UPDATE 7-14-17  “Friends” strike back against playground advocates with two supremely bitchy editorials in the Philadelphia Inquirer (ooh, someone’s got friends in high places!).

Scott Cameron again, yet! We tangled with him last year, and now he’s back with more of the same entitled rhetoric that seeks to disregard popular opinion here, and divide the community rather than compromise even a tiny bit for the common good.

Rumors fly on Facebook’s “Fallsers for McMichael Playground” group. One parent reported that a woman was spotted outside Cranky Joe’s, pulling off flyers for the meeting. Another source reported that a “Friend” (or sympathizer) has been working connections at Abbotsford Homes, trying to drum up a protest movement on the grounds that funds should be spent there instead.

So much hysteria for a playground?! East Falls, you’re a crazy town but we have faith things’ll shake out just fine.

DON’T MISS THE DRAMA! Monday night (July 17) at McMichael park, 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Bring the whole family for FREE water ice & kids’ activities. See you there!

UPDATE 6-30-17:  Friends of McMichael’s Alexis Franklin was seen with a small group of other Friends (Beth Gross-Eskin, Robert Rabinowitz, Bill Hoffner, and Mike Andrews) with protest signs this morning at the park near Coulter.

Guess we know who’s behind the appearing/disappearing “Save Our Park” signs now. Some neighbors (or people like Alexis who live in Center City but feel like neighbors) clearly are not done taking their stand against a playground here — although not a terribly impressive stand, really. They were only out a few minutes to pose with their signs, we assume, for a photo op to advance their latest tack: to have McMichael Park designated a Historic Landmark.

Lafayette touched down here back in Revolutionary Days, evidently, so that might be enough. Might. The Friends are scrambling for deeds & evidence to get the park “protected” from change by the Historical Commission — which requires public meetings, btw, so this ain’t a slam dunk.

So the fight is on! Well, good for them. Not sure they deserve the funds they’re asking from Curtis Jones to promote this historical preservation, but then again probably the best thing for these “Friends” will be the public kick in the ass they’ll likely receive from neighbors here & across Philly for this transparent power grab/stall tactic. (Comments on Philly.com were brutal last time this playground fight was covered.)

Should be interesting to see how this backlash sits with East Falls parents who are counting on this playground. As always, we’ll be watching. Can’t wait for the meeting, the last one was a blast

General site of proposed natural playspace

UPDATE 6-12-17: The plot thickens… No one’s claiming responsibility for alarming (yet vague) new signs at McMichael. 

Mysterious signs have popped up at McMichael Park, in apparent response to a recent stakeholder meeting where plans for the new playground proposed using more space than the initial 1 – 2 % requested for a natural play area.

It’s just a first draft, though! Designers are back at the drawing board to address concerns. Meanwhile, Friends of McMichael park deny that they’re behind the new signs — but these “bandit” signs hung around for days without any comment from the Friends, so perhaps that’s telling?

Because a playground here will disturb the natural tranquility of SEPTA buses.

What’s with the wording, btw? “Our” park? Who are “they” that want us to help them save “their” park? And from what? And how, specifically, are we supposed to help? The signs are anonymous and unclear. And shoddy, too — made of black trash bags, it seems, and accented with sloppy red paint splotches.

On Nextdoor, the same vocal minority who lost their fight to keep the park “passive” last year is starting up the same tired arguments again. “We shall never give up!” insisted one neighbor, to which another shot back, “Churchill quotes? It’s a playground, not WWII. Let’s bring it back to reality…”

Looks like democracy might take a little more time coming to East Falls, after all. Stay tuned as the saga continues.

Original post 5-22-17: Local parents advocate for a playground at McMichael — and succeed. Here’s to community activism in the Falls!

PhillyVoice.com announced earlier this month — McMichael’s getting a playground! Not just any playground, a “natural playspace” in keeping with the park’s peaceful, residential vibe. My how far we’ve come…

This time last year, some neighbors were freaking out over the idea of changing this “emerald gem” in the heart of East Falls. Today, though, “it’s all about positivity,” wrote reporter (and Queen Lane resident) Brian Hickey.

After months of behind-the-scene meetings, McMichael’s new play space is on the way, probably in the area where the turtle is now — but neither the design nor the site are definite yet, stressed Alexis Franklin (Friends of McMichael).

Funding for construction is not exactly figured out, either — but it’s coming. Probably a combination of capital and communities monies, according to Josh Cohen of Curtis Jones’ office. But first, an upcoming community survey and public meeting will help finalize the design. Once one is chosen, installation will begin soon after.

Won’t be long before The Great Playground Debate will be over for good, and McMichael Park can begin its new life better serving our community. Congratulations to all the parents who worked so hard for over ten years to make this natural playspace a reality — especially Joyce Brady who initiated the effort last April on NextDoor, and led this charge for change.

Thanks, too, to the Friends of McMichael Park for warming up to the idea at last!

And thanks to Curtis Jones’ office, who help orchestrate the playground and also a $50k restoration project for McMichael’s war memorial.

PS: Have you noticed how McMichael has really stepped up their game recently? Expanded Falls Flea with a beer garden, yet, and even Parks on Tap is coming, for gosh sakes! Way to go, Friends. We’re loving the new McMichael.

QUOTES FROM SOCIAL MEDIA…

Daniel Ostrov  The Natural Playground sounds awesome!  — Fallsers for McMichael Playground

Gina Snyder Joyce Brady you are a superstar!! Thank you!!  — Fallsers for McMichael Playground

Melissa Holloway  Thank you for all your hard work!  — Fallsers for McMichael Playground

Christine Pincituro Smith  I hope they don’t do that to such a nice clean park… there are other places in the Falls for kids and parents to play.  — I’m From East Falls

Darlene Rodgers Spino  You can thank Carolyn Fillmore for stirring the pot.  — I’m From East Falls

Arlene Kish DuBois   But but! Look out. There will be children in the park. Oh my.  — East Falls Rants

Jennifer Gallagher Thompson  Let’s make sure we set up some Hate Has No Home Here signs for all the opponents of the playground.  — East Falls Rants

 

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8 Comments

  1. Morgan B.

    Wow… I move to a different neighborhood and all of a sudden EF has a dog park, beer gardens, and playgrounds.

    Good job peeps!

  2. Dee S.

    Let’s hope the parents will be responsible for their children, their trash pickup and respect others rights to peace and serenity which was what this green space has been about for generations. Still not convinced the parents of today can do that and not sue the first time a child splits their head open or breaks something… And what will happen to the iconic turtle? Nice to see they will spruce up the war memorial…

  3. Sean

    Still there?

  4. Chris McCabe

    Well, it looks like there is now a new group called “Coalition to Save McMichael Park,” according to a letter to the Editor from Peter Logan, the group’s spokesperson, in today’s Inquirer. And I thought I was finished with my advocacy on behalf of a playground in McMichael Park.

    • Carolyn Fillmore

      That letter was like someone lighting the Bat Signal for you. Can you stand another round of this? Your neighborhood needs you. 🙂

  5. Mike Daigeaun

    You missed including Ellen Kennedy’s attack on the parks department. Granted she tried framing his disdain through the veil of ‘for the new teachers contract’ because the Parks Department apparently is flush with cash.

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