A nice crowd turned out on a cold night Feb. 5 to hear about plans to renovate the Lackman Rec Center in Bustleton. City Councilman Brian O’Neill, who hosted the meeting at the rec center on the 1100 block of Bartlett Street, said between 20 and 30 people showed up for the evening session held just hours after the region’s worst ice storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of PECO customers.
“It was a good crowd,” O’Neill said in a Feb. 6 phone interview. “The presentation was excellent. … It looked really nice.”
Residents had a lot of questions about the plans to renovate the facility at 1101 Bartlett St., the councilman said. O’Neill recently had said Lackman’s play-ground equip-ment is in good shape and the pool area has al-most a coun-try club feel, but it’s the grounds around the rec cen-ter build-ing that have what he called a lot of unnecessary asphalt around it. Also, he said, there’s not enough parking.
The city will spend about $400,000 to up-grade the rec cen-ter. Right now, there aren’t enough legal parking spots, so those driv-ing to see foot-ball or base-ball games of-ten park on the grass. Cops is-sue $100 tick-ets for that, the coun-cil-man said. To rem-edy that, the number of parking spaces will be doubled, and guard-rails will be put up to keep cars off the grass.
Fur-ther parts of the plan in-clude up-grad-ing the front of the build-ing; mov-ing and re-design-ing the cen-ter’s small play-ground; us-ing ex-ist-ing plumb-ing to cre-ate a wa-ter spray park for kids; build-ing a little race-way, com-plete with cross-ing signs, for small chil-dren to ride their tri-cycles; and get-ting more grass.
Named for Of-ficer Wil-li-am Lack-man, who was killed in the line of duty at Welsh and Ver-ree roads in 1968, the rec cen-ter’s play-ground opened in 1969, and its pool opened in 1970, said Deputy Re-cre-ation Com-mis-sion-er Leo Dig-nam. The only previous renov-a-tion, he said, was an ad-di-tion to the ori-gin-al build-ing.
The councilman said those attending the Feb. 5 information session had some concerns about vandalism at the rec center and wondered if the work will be completed before the start of summer programs.
O’Neill said he believes all work will be done on time. Also, part of the renov-a-tions O’Neill wants will in-clude in-stalling cam-er-as to mon-it-or the fa-cil-ity as well as “the Mos-quito,” a device that emits an an-noy-ing sound that only people young-er than those in their early 20s can hear. The Mos-quito will get turned on after 9 p.m. to dis-cour-age ju-ven-ile loiter-ing and van-dal-ism. Cam-er-as dis-cour-age van-dal-ism and help cops catch van-dals be-cause their ac-tions are re-cor-ded.
On Feb. 4, the night before the Lackman meeting, O’Neill conducted a similar session at Burholme Park that drew a smaller crowd. He said work at the park’s play area will include improving a path, ripping out and replacing all equipment as well as putting in a new parking lot. He said the project has been planned for a while, but was held up by funding. He said the Department of Parks and Recreation will split costs with him. He will kick in dollars from his district’s capital improvement fund.
Residents can view the Lackman plans at the rec center, 1101 Bartlett St., during business hours. The plans for renovations at Burholme Park will be at the Ryerss Museum and Library, 10 a.m. through 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday. ••