Category Archives: Sports

Mayor Kenney celebrates Rebuild milestone at the opening of a new athletic field in Parkside

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Contact: Maita Soukup, 267-251-3064, maita.soukup@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA – Today Mayor Jim Kenney joined Councilman Curtis Jones to open the new multi-sport athletic field at the Parkside Evans Playground. The field was the first Rebuild project to break ground last December, and represents a major milestone for the program and the Parkside community. Rebuild is a signature initiative of Mayor Kenney’s, made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries.

The Parkside Saints Youth and Mentoring Association is a popular youth football league that has been operating without a dedicated home field since 2010. Thanks to Rebuild, the City invested roughly $560,000 to build a brand new multi-sport practice field at Parkside Evans. The new field is designed for both football and soccer, and includes an irrigation system, retaining walls, and drainage to ensure it is well maintained in all weather.

“Rebuild is our chance to give every young person in this City a neighborhood public space they can feel proud of,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “For too long, our parks, rec centers, and libraries haven’t received the investments necessary to benefit our neighborhoods and help residents thrive. The Parkside athletic field represents the type of major improvements Rebuild is bringing to communities across the city.”

The Parkside practice field is the first phase of a project that will also see a brand new game field built on the Parkside Evans campus. The game field is being supported by Rebuild with additional funding from a grant from the Philadelphia Eagles.

“This community loves football, and we love the Parkside Saints,” said Councilman Curtis Jones. “The young people here are finally able to have a home field, and the chance to have fun and stay fit right here in Parkside. We look forward to the next phase of the project here, and for additional Rebuild projects planned for the Fourth District.”

“This is a huge day for the Parkside Saints,” said Coach Clifford Smith. “These kids just want to play football, so we have been using this patch of grass as our unofficial practice field for years. Seeing the goal posts and lines on the field is tremendous. This league is all about building kids’ self esteem and providing discipline, life lessons, and positive role models. I am happy to see the city bringing new resources to our community through Rebuild.”

Since its first groundbreaking at Parkside Evans in December 2018, Rebuild has committed over $124 million to improvement projects at sites across the city, including major renovation projects at the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center, the Vare Recreation Center, the Olney Recreation Center, the Heitzman Recreation Center, Barrett Playground, Glavin Playground, and the Rivera Recreation Center. Two-thirds of Rebuild’s initial 64 sites are in high needs areas, and all Rebuild funding addresses critical facilities needs in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries.

“The Parkside Saints, and all the kids in this community, have been waiting for their own field for a long time,” said Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “I am pleased to say that, thanks to Rebuild, the wait is over!”

Rebuild projects are meeting ambitious diversity and inclusion goals, including 25-35% of all Rebuild contract dollars going to diverse Philadelphia businesses, and 15-25% to woman-owned firms. This month Rebuild began a training program for its first class of union trainees, a quarter of whom are women and all of whom are people of color. The program will recruit up to 35 participants a year, offering diverse city residents a paid pathway into a career in the building trades.

“Rebuild is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernize Philadelphia’s neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries,” said Rebuild Executive Director Nicole Westerman. “The work now underway across the city lays the foundation for sustainable neighborhoods and a more equitable City, with a diverse and inclusive building trades workforce.”

To stay up to date on the Parkside Evans project and all Rebuild sites, visit rebuild.phila.gov.

Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild) is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries.  Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild seeks to improve pivotal community spaces, empower and engage communities, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.  Rebuild is a public private partnership made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Donor Dash Weekend: Life-Saving Events Culminate in 10K at the Art Museum

Buildings and Bridges to Light Up in Green and Blue Ahead of 24th Annual Race

The City of Brotherly Love will prove this weekend that no place has more heart. A series of events by Gift of Life Donor Program and its supporters will draw more than 10,000 people from throughout the Philadelphia region, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and save lives by supporting organ and tissue donation.

On Friday evening, landmarks across the city will light up in green and blue – the official colors of organ donation awareness – as part of National Donate Life Blue and Green Day. Buildings will include the Ben Franklin Bridge, the BYN Mellon Center, Two Liberty Place, the Cira Centre Towers, and more.

On Saturday, runners from across the region will meet at the Gift of Life Family House for a picnic before race day.

On Sunday, the Gift of Life Donor Program will host more than 10,000 participants in the 24th Annual Donor Dash at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Dash takes place every April, which is National Donate Life Month. More than 5,000 men, women, and children in the Philadelphia region are waiting for an organ transplant. They are among nearly 114,000 waiting nationwide. Twenty people on the waiting list die each day.

About the Donor Dash

Pre-race Picnic:                               Saturday, April 13

10:00am – 2:00pm

Gift of Life Family House

401 Callowhill St.

Philadelphia, PA 19123

Participants will collect their Dash race materials during a picnic. There will also be food, music, and more fun activities to get everyone pumped up for an exciting race the next day!

Sunday, April 14

                              6:00am: Registration opens

                              7:10am: 10K Run begins

                              7:20am: 5K Run begins

                              7:45am: Kids Fun Run begins (for kids six and under)

                              8:00am: Opening Ceremonies

8:30am: 3K Walk

HOW TO REGISTER:

Participants can register on-site the morning of the Dash. Click here for more information: www.donordash.org

About the Gift of Life Donor Program

Gift of Life Donor Program is the non-profit, federally-designated organ procurement organization, serving 11.2 million people across the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.  Its annual donation rate ranks among the highest in the world. Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 47,000 life-saving organs for transplant, and approximately one million tissue transplants have resulted from the generosity of donors and their families.  One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and a tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 75 others. For more information or to register, visit donors1.org.

About the Gift of Life Donor Dash

The Dash began with a group of only 800 people, as a result of Claire Braverman’s wish to honor her husband, Mickey, who passed away while waiting for a liver transplant.  Claire wanted to turn her grief into something positive, so she organized the first-ever Donor Dash in his memory.  Today, the Dash continues to honor Mickey, donors and donor families – and the more than 5,000 men, women and children in Gift of Life’s region who are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant.

The 2018 Donor Dash drew more than 10,000 dedicated Dashers, nearly 400 teams, and raised more than $600,000 for Gift of Life outreach programs to educate the community about the significant need to register more organ and tissue donors.

Contact: Karen Muldoon Geus

610-864-1840

KMuldoonGeus@donors1.org 

West Park in “Stars”

from Wikipedia

The P.R.R. YMCA Athletic Field, also known as Penmar Park and commonly referred to in the 1930s and 1940s as the 44th and Parkside ballpark, was an athletic field and ballpark in West Philadelphia from 1903 to the early 1950s. It was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad YMCA. It was the home of the Pennsylvania Railroad YMCA of Philadelphia football club, often called the “Railroaders”, from 1903 through 1905, and the Philadelphia Stars Negro league baseball club from 1936 until 1952. The field was also used as a multi-sport athletic field used by the local community. During the 1930s the field was the site of home football games of Overbrook High School and St. Joseph’s Preparatory School. Overbrook also played their home baseball games there. For example, thePhiladelphia College of Pharmacy held 1906 Commencement Week “Athletic Games” at the field.The independent Norfolk Black Bombers all-black barnstorming football team played the Washington Willow Trees on Thanksgiving Day 1942 at the park.[3] Stars co-owner Eddie Gottlieb organized a semi-professional baseball team called the “All-Phillies” which played at the field in its later years.

The field first opened on May 3, 1903. The ballpark itself was erected in the 1920s. Lights were added in 1933 to allow for night games.[5]

Behind the park’s right-field fence stood the roundhouse of the main yard of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Stars player Stanley Glenn would later recount how smoke and soot from the coal-powered trains would waft into the ballpark. Glenn recalls that the Stars would often stop their games until the smoke had cleared from the field.[7] Players recalled the field being rarely manicured resulting in the grass growing high.

Ballpark capacity is said to have been 5,000  to 6,000 people. Overflow crowds would bring attendance up to 10,000.

Philadelphia Stars Baseball

The ballpark was owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad and Stars co-owner Eddie Gottlieb leased it from the Railroad for the club. The Stars played their home games at the ballpark with the exception of Monday nights when the Stars would play in North Philadelphia at Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics and starting in 1938, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Negro League emblem http://www.streetball.com/...
Negro League emblem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Biographer Mark Ribowsky documented that Pittsburgh Crawfords catcher Josh Gibson hit a long home run in a game against the Stars early in the 1936 season that flew out of the ballpark. The ballpark was home to another famous incident, in which Satchel Paige was working on a perfect game through eight innings. In the ninth, after three intentional walks, Paige was so sure of himself that he told his seven fielders to lie down on the field. Paige struck out the side on nine pitches.[5]

Negro League World Series games were often played at neutral game-sites to attract larger crowds. The Cleveland Buckeyes beat the Homestead Grays in game 4 of the 1945 Series at 44th and Parkside. Game 3 of the 1947 Series was also played at the Park in which the Buckeyes faced the New York Cubans.

Amazingly, the ballpark remained sturdy despite a woman named Miss Hattie Williams chopping wood from the grandstand with a hatchet most days. She used the wood as firewood to heat the washtub where she cooked the hot dogs for her concession stand behind home plate.

Mural

Across Belmont Avenue from the Memorial Park is the mural “Philadelphia Stars: a tribute to Negro League baseball”. The mural is part of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. It was painted by Philadelphia artist David McShane, and dedicated on September 19, 2006. The mural has been described as an “impressionistic collage of scenes”; McShane consulted with surviving Stars players on their memories of the ballpark before creating the work. The mural was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Green Program, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, and the Business Association of West Parkside (which had also organized the creation of the Memorial Park). Former Stars players Glenn, Gould, Cash, and Duckett attended the dedication, as well as Phillies players Michael BournChris Roberson, and the artist McShane.

Home Grown Hoops Star

by Michael Burch

Local Hoops Star Jai Williams in his Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter Basketball Uniform
Local Hoops Star Jai Williams in his Philadelphia Electrical & Technology Charter Basketball Uniform

Each year in this city we have promising young people head off to college and Parkside is no exception. In fact it’s a little special this year as the 4200 block of Viola Street’s own Jai Williams heads off to College.

Jai, is something of a local star with his talented skills in Basketball. Jai Williams was easily one of the best high school basketball players in the city. Williams, is a 6-foot-7, 240 pound recent graduate ofPhiladelphia Electrical & Technology Charter’s basketball team.

He’s a tremendous player who recently made the decision that he’s taking his “game” to the Saint Joseph’s Hawks team. “I feel really good about the decision,” Williams said. “I like Saint Joseph’s The School is not too far from my house. I live in West Philly. I can stay in touch with my family.”

Already spending the summer on Saint Joseph’s campus and experiencing a brief stint overseas in Italy Jai, is well prepared for an outstanding college career. We look forward to seeing the wonderful things the future holds in store for this promising Viola Street graduate. We wish you all the best Jai!!