City to spend $400K to upgrade Lackman Rec Center

Makeover: Lack­man Rec Cen­ter will un­der­go renov­a­tions to the grounds around the build­ing in­clud­ing a wa­ter-spray park for kids and more park­ing spots. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

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. ••

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