Northeast Times

Henon commits to renovating Bridesburg Rec Center

Brides­burg res­id­ents re­viewed plans for renov­at­ing the rec cen­ter at a meet­ing on Monday, Feb. 24.

One of the op­tions for pro­posed renov­a­tions to the Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter. IM­AGE COUR­TESY OF THE DE­PART­MENT OF PUB­LIC PROP­ERTY

Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on hos­ted a meet­ing at the Brides­burg Re­cre­ation Cen­ter on Monday, Feb. 24, to re­veal pos­sible renov­a­tions to the cen­ter and re­ceive feed­back from loc­al res­id­ents.  

Al­though a def­in­ite amount of fund­ing is not yet al­loc­ated be­cause the fi­nal plan has not been de­term­ined, Hen­on has com­mit­ted to back­ing the pro­ject.  

“It’s a sig­ni­fic­ant in­vest­ment from the city, spe­cific­ally the 6th dis­trict cap­it­al budget that I have,‘ Hen­on said. “I know it’s been a long time since Brides­burg has had any type of these in­vest­ments so I want to make sure you’re a part of it.”

About 30 people at­ten­ded the meet­ing. On hand to present renov­a­tion op­tions was Francesco Cer­rai, design and con­struc­tion pro­ject man­ager for the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Prop­erty, who will be in charge of the cap­it­al im­prove­ments that Hen­on is pro­pos­ing.  

Cer­rai said the ini­tial renov­a­tions would mainly fo­cus on the play­ground area at Brides­burg Rec.

Pos­sible im­prove­ments in­clude re­hab­bing and adding play equip­ment, re­pla­cing the safety mat­ting and re­sur­fa­cing the bas­ket­ball and ten­nis courts.

“We want to cre­ate a place where kids come and play and stay safe,” Cer­rai said.

The first step in cre­at­ing a safe space would be re­pla­cing the safety mat­ting, the shock-ab­sorb­ent rub­ber sur­face sur­round­ing the play struc­tures. As evid­enced in pho­tos dis­played by the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Prop­er­ties, the safety mat­ting sur­face is worn down and poses a safety is­sue for chil­dren at play.  

ldquo;The main thing is re­pla­cing the safety sur­face,” Cer­rai said. “We have dif­fer­ent stand­ards now. We re­quire a much thick­er one.”

Chris Creel­man, dir­ect­or of con­stitu­ent ser­vices and spe­cial pro­jects for Hen­on’s of­fice, af­firmed the need to re­place the safety mat­ting.

“Most of the ori­gin­al con­cerns we re­ceived from Brides­burg res­id­ents in­volved the safety mat­ting of the play­ground, so that’s what we fo­cused on first,” he said.  

In ad­di­tion to re­pla­cing the safety mat­ting, Hen­on pro­poses to re­hab the swing set and add new play equip­ment.

“The tot lot sec­tion of the play­ground will keep its ex­ist­ing play struc­tures,” he said. The new play equip­ment, he said, would be ad­ded to the ju­ni­or sec­tion of the play­ground in an ef­fort to sep­ar­ate the two age groups and re­duce safety is­sues.

Pos­sible play equip­ment to be ad­ded in­clude a spin­ner and two cable-con­struc­ted climb­ing struc­tures, sim­il­ar to those, ac­cord­ing to Creel­man, that Hen­on fun­ded at Russo play­ground, loc­ated at Frank­ford and Tor­res­dale av­en­ues.

Aside from the play area, the plan also sug­gests re­pla­cing the sur­round­ing con­crete pav­ing and re­sur­fa­cing both the bas­ket­ball and ten­nis courts.

After the present­a­tion, com­munity mem­bers sug­ges­ted ad­di­tion­al renov­a­tions, in­clud­ing adding benches, get­ting bet­ter light­ing, plant­ing more trees and re­hab­bing the ten­nis court so that it could eas­ily be con­ver­ted for hockey or soc­cer use.  Hen­on as­sured them that all op­tions would be con­sidered when fi­nal­iz­ing the plan.  

An­oth­er ma­jor con­cern for both res­id­ents and Hen­on’s of­fice was some neigh­bors us­ing the ten­nis courts as a mock dog park, with no re­gard to san­it­a­tion. Hen­on said he would ad­dress the prob­lem by bring­ing a real dog park to the area, stat­ing: “I am look­ing for a dog park some­where in the dis­trict. I’m look­ing in this area. I’m com­mit­ting that you will have a dog park.”

So, when can res­id­ents ex­pect to see the im­prove­ments?

While Cer­rai said it could take up to two years, de­pend­ing on which plan is ad­op­ted, Hen­on is hope­ful to be­gin the renov­a­tions next spring.

“Maybe next spring should be our timeline,” Hen­on said, and re­minded res­id­ents their co­oper­a­tion was es­sen­tial. “We need to make de­cisions as a com­munity quickly,” he said. Once the com­munity’s in­put is re­ceived, Hen­on will meet with Phil­adelphia Parks and Re­cre­ation to re­view the plan and give his fi­nal ap­prov­al. 

Stay in­formed about the latest de­vel­op­ments in the Brides­burg Rec Cen­ter renov­a­tion pro­ject by vis­it­ing bobby­hen­on.com/brides­bur­g_rec_renov­a­tions or fol­low­ing Coun­cil­man Hen­on on Face­book at face­book.com/Coun­cil­man­Hen­on. ••

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