In North Philadelphia, where its resident’s are known for their soccer prowess, a kickers paradise is ready to be exposed.
Kensington youth soccer players are in for a treat this April when Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Daniel Shissler Recreation Center, at 1800 N. Blair St., next to Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts, will open a brand-new, 2,800-square-foot turf field for pee-wee soccer and youth baseball leagues.
Patti McGrail-Schiffler, commissioner of the Newt’s soccer league which is named after the former depot yard on Shissler Recreation’s land, said Kensington has always been known as a soccer area. It’s been a family tradition, she said.
“It’s big around here. Their father’s and grand father’s all played soccer and they’re just going along with it.”
Machinery and equipment were un-occupied on the barren land of construction, but progress is clearly being made.
The “Cutman” Memorial Turf field is named after Stan “Cutman” Maliszewski, a former Fishtown resident who served in Vietnam, worked as a Philadelphia area firefighter and was one of the founders of the We Care Soccer Camp.
The construction of the turf field is part of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation’s Big Green Block Plan. The program, also known as Sustainable 19125, is the organization’s hope to make Kensington the most sustainable region in the city.
Pat Cain, Sr., the manager of We Care Soccer Camp, led the initiative to create the complex. Cain, Sr. discovered a way to fund the project without Park and Recreation’s help, McGrail-Schiffler said.
“They were selling bricks, so Pat and his family could build this field of dreams,” McGrail-Schiffler said.
The bricks, which were bought by residents in Kensington, are personalized and will line the outside of the field
The project also includes a new dog park and a passive park area, which will provide residents with benches, trees and walking paths for the community to enjoy.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has installed two storm water infiltration basins to capture storm water runoff from nearby streets and Shissler Recreation’s parking lot, which will keep the field safe from water damage.
Shissler Recreation will be responsible for maintenance to the property.
The tentative date for the opening of the complex is Saturday, April 13. An event will be held during the day to celebrate the community’s effort, including a moon bounce and music.
McGrail-Schiffler isn’t shocked this project came together in Kensington.
“Kensington’s a great community that cares about their neighborhood, and I’m glad to be working here,” she said.