Shovels officially in the dirt at the Ralph Brooks Tot Lot

The groundbreaking for the new tot lot at Ralph Brooks Park finally took place yesterday afternoon at 20th and Tasker Street.

The event had been rescheduled multiple times due to inclement weather. While yesterday’s climate might have been a tad dreary, the future for the playground as a multi-generational social gathering space is brighter than ever. 

The first round of improvements include the refurbishment and repaving of the basketball court, new play equipment for the tot lot and the addition of stormwater management features on site. Mural Arts and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society are spearheading phase two, which will look to incorporate urban farming and other art features into a lot adjacent to the main park. Here’s a look at the plan:

Overhead layout of Ralph Brooks (via PWD)
Overhead layout of Ralph Brooks (via PWD)

Claire Laver, of the non-proift Urban Roots, recently told us in an email: “The project has always been envisioned as a network of public spaces that come together along 20th Street between Mountain and Tasker to support inter-generational recreation opportunities for the community.”

The project is a partnership between Councilman Johnson, Urban Roots,, Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation, The Philadelphia Water Department,the PhillyRising Collaborative Department of Parks and Recreation, State Representative Jordan Harris, and the Tasker Street Baptist Church and will look to be completed by Spring of 2015.

You may recall that Barwin, linebacker with the Philadelphia Eagles and big-time city guy, ran a benefit concert featuring Kurt Vile to raise money for the project–it brought in $170,000 in total for the cause.

Here’s the recent feature of Barwin’s efforts at the park on ESPN.