Friends of the Wissahickon Playground

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Greg and friends building community
Playgrounds are important

Wissahickon Playground:
It's not too late to save it

WHAT WOULD happen if your Councilperson one day announced that she had decided to eliminate Mount Airy Playground and bring a developer in to build houses there? What would be the likely result if the Councilperson decided to demolish the Watertower Playground in Chestnut Hill, and have a residential development built as is happening to us in Germantown. Can you imagine how those neighbors would react? The city would not get through the second sentence of such an announcement before the community had killed the project.
That is exactly what is happening at the Wissahickon Playground - The Wissahickon playground has existed in one form or another for 100 years and has been used daily by the children and parents in our community. 

PDF of Action Filed to Save the Playground

Article published in the Leader newspaper- click here

Germantown neighbors look to save Wissahickon Playground from destruction

Published: Monday, March 30, 2015 on

By Bernard J. Scally
@MrBScally on Twitter

Germantown >> Last month, a group of residents filed a civil complaint against the Philadelphia Housing Authority with the goal of saving their local playground.

A suit was filed in Orphans’ Court on March 3, seeking an injunction to halt the redevelopment of the area that was once the Wissahickon Playground, located at the corner of Pulaski Avenue and Penn Street.

“Playgrounds are very connected to the community,” said resident Greg Paulmier, the complaint’s lead plaintiff. “They are like a good food store. It’s where we meet.”

According to court documents, attorney Samuel Stretton claims the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) and the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PAID) have violated the Public Trust Doctrine among other laws.

According to the plaintiffs, the Wissahickon Playground was deeded to the city in 1935. It was dismantled in the years leading up to the implosion of the Queen Lane Apartments. The six-story high rise was demolished to make way for a new 55-unit low-density development. Neighbors and PHA officials among others worked to preserve a Colonial-era Potter’s Field, or burial ground, on the site.

According to plaintiff Hal Sawyer, the site was a playground as far back as the 1890s. The playground is named after the Wissahickon Boys Club, the first and oldest and at that time only youth club for blacks in the country, which leased the site for a club playground.

“It played a real role in the Boys & Girls Club,” said Paulmier.

According to the suit, the city wrongly deeded the property to PAID, which deeded it to PHA. Both transfers, according to the suit, should require Orphans’ Court approval.

According to Paulmier, there is hope for victory as attorney Stretton made a similar argument in Northeast Philadelphia in 2008 against Fox Chase Cancer Center from annexing a section of Burholme Park.

“We expect there to be a wonderful playground in future for the kids to play in,” said Paulmier.

According to Paulmier, the case should be heard in Orphans’ Court in April.

News Works article
Click on article to view on NewsWorks site.

Philadelphia, PA 19144