The once neglected park located at 20th and Tasker streets has transformed into a beautiful haven for Point Breeze residents to shoot hoops and plant vegetables.
Urban Roots, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, collaborated with Make the World Better Foundation, Mural Arts Program and many other organizations to revitalize the Ralph Brooks Park in Point Breeze. The park additions – jungle gym, basketball court, community garden and murals – are efforts to unify and strengthen the community.
The overall hope of the park is to create a community atmosphere to ensure the maintenance of the park by residents for years to come.
“Overall, we want to make an impact on those communities. I think that our impact has a lot to do with their ideas,” said Urban Roots Project Manager and Creative Director Jessie Fox. “Our biggest thing is community engagement and giving back to the communities that need it. We want to make sure the project that we are doing sustains an impact.”
Before the renovation, the Ralph Brooks Park included a “Stop the Violence” mural that was created to remember the residents of Point Breeze who were lost to gun violence.
Many organizations involved in the project along with the community decided to keep the mural and only add a few embellishments. The community felt it was important to complement the “Stop the Violence” mural with a variety of murals designed by Steve Powers and the Mural Arts Program that will uplift and motivate the community.
“The community was pretty clear that they didn’t want it to go away,” said Jane Golden, Mural Arts executive director. “Everyone wanted art to augment and lift up the space. They feel that art is a very important part of the environment, and that murals have come to mean a lot to citizens across the city of Philadelphia.”
The community garden has already fulfilled the mission of the park with the abundance of community volunteers partaking in the maintenance of the garden. The community garden has now become a place for neighbors to get to know each other beyond a friendly hello.
“It’s about getting to know the people around you,” said Mary Chiorelli, Community Garden board member. “Reaching out to people in the community and everyone getting to know each other – it’s just another method for you to reach out and make your community better.”
– Text, images and video by Morgan Falconer