For Immediate Release

Olney Recreation Center Breaks Ground

Olney’s $15.5 Million Revitalization is the Largest Rebuild Project to Date

PHILADELPHIA (October 1, 2021) - Yesterday, Mayor James Kenney and City Councilperson Cherelle L. Parker joined leaders from the Rebuild initiative, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), and the community to celebrate the groundbreaking for the $15.5 million Olney Recreation Center Rebuild project.

“Today’s groundbreaking celebrates what can happen when the city and partners work in concert with the community. The renovations and new features planned for to Olney Recreation Center will make it more inviting and accessible to the community,” said Mayor James Kenney. “We honor the history of this recreation center, which has been a cornerstone of the community for 61 years and look forward to its grand reopening with modernizations that will better serve the community for years to come.”

The Olney Recreation Center represents the largest Rebuild project to date. The multi-year City initiative funded through the Philadelphia Beverage Tax has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to restore parks, recreation centers, and libraries in neighborhoods across the city.

As one of the nation’s largest nonprofit organizations, PHMC is the project manager of the Rebuild project at Olney Recreation Center. PHMC was chosen due to its extensive experience integrating health in design to improve the health outcomes for the people it serves. PHMC recognizes that the recreation center is a mainstay in Olney and redesigning the building and site will bring the community together, build the capacity for the community and local organizations, and provide a safe and accessible space for all to use.

“At Public Health Management Corporation, using the power of design to advance health and create and sustain healthier communities is part of our mission,” said Richard J. Cohen, President and CEO of Public Health Management Corporation. “This renovation of Olney Recreation Center will demonstrate the power of our healthy design model that focuses on planning a space where youth and community members can play, be active, and connect with one another.”

Kelly Maiello Architects, DEDC Engineering, Duffield Associates, Ground Reconsidered – Landscape Architects, Hunt Engineering, The Sheward Partnership, and Sports Fields were the consultants for site assessment, building design, site design, and planning. All work has been overseen by Public Health Management Corporation and Antione Johnson LLC. The design process incorporated direct feedback from community engagement efforts led by Olney Eagles Youth Organization, Olney Culture Lab, Greater Philadelphia Asian Social Service Center, Olney Recreation Center Advisory Council, and Councilperson Cherelle L. Parker’s office.

“We worked to include the community’s input in the site planning components. Over the course of the design process, we met with the community several times, understood how they currently use the center and how they would like to use the space in the future. This informed every stage of design development, site planning and budget allocations,” said Troy Leonard, Principal, Kelly Maiello Architects. “What you see in the site plan is direct result of our work with the community.”

A $15.5M investment, the project updates will include:

  • A new recreation center building that will be more welcoming and inclusive in its design while also accommodating current and future programming needs
  • Renovated gym
  • Playground renovations offering multiple play options tailored to children ages 2-5 and ages 5-12, to encourage physical activity
  • A spray ground
  • Artificial turf multi-sport field
  • Outdoor recreational track
  • Community terrace with seating
  • Relocated flag and memorial
  • New lit paths
  • ADA accessibility updates

“The redevelopment of the Olney Recreation Center will transform this space into an oasis for our Olney community, and adjacent neighborhoods,” said Councilperson Cherelle L. Parker. “In the years to come, this state-of-the art facility will serve as a gathering place for neighbors and families, provide our youth with a safe haven that meets their educational, social, and recreational needs, and offer a neighborhood-centered facility of culture and entertainment for residents across generations and ethnicities in this community. We are excited about the future of the Olney Rec Center, and I am confident that this will be one of the crown jewels of the Rebuild Initiative.”

“We are so proud of our partnership at Olney Recreation Center,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “Through the Rebuild funding and support from Councilperson Cherelle Parker, we look forward to the future of the recreation center that will meet the needs of residents and is a resource in the Olney neighborhood.”
“Olney Rec is a hub for this community, and the home to an incredible mix of high quality youth and family recreation programming,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. “The Rebuild investment in Olney will deliver the facilities and amenities residents here deserve.”

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Public Health Management Corporation
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices and evidence-based guidelines to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit www.phmc.org, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Rebuild
Rebuild is a historic investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild’s promise to acknowledge history, engage the community and invest intentionally seeks to uplift pivotal community spaces, empower neighborhoods, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of its people through stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways, and management of 500 recreation buildings, 166 miles of trail, and 250 playgrounds. PPR offers safe, enjoyable recreation, environmental and cultural programs and events throughout Philadelphia's parks and recreation system. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. In 2017, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, set about implementing the park system’s first strategic plan: Our Path to 2020 and Beyond. As a result, PPR is undertaking a period of historic change, setting the department on a course to become a modern, equitable and exceptional parks and recreation system. Visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Link to Images from the Groundbreaking:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5dtr51u3aw060z9/AAAzVxemnOHD1pnwDOQOY2jTa?dl=0

Link to Renderings:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hria3tapawjogd2/AABqjKs2MhvTVlyE78gS0jR0a?dl=0