Friends of Bardascino Park History
The Friends of Bardascino Park formed in 1991.Ê We were a handful of neighbors who wanted a park that was clean, safe, and attractive, and a place for our young children to ride their tricycles. What we saw was a park with broken benches, dead and missing trees, no greenery or flowers. Broken bottles and trash littered the ground.
We started by cleaning up the park on a regular basis and meeting with the Department of Recreation to plan the park’s future. We were acknowledged as an official Friends group, which gave us a role in the future the park, and we followed through with plans for improvements, such as adding planters and planting beds around the trees.
What We Have Done Over the Years…
Organized regular cleanups
Replaced dead trees
Planted annuals and perennials in pots and around trees
Repaired and repainted benches
Organized bake sales, flower sales, bocce tournaments to pay for our improvements
We became the liaison for the neighborhood, communicating with the Department of Recreation, Department of Streets, and the Police Department on issues concerning lighting repair, water repairs, and undesirable behavior in the park.
In 1999, the Friends of Bardascino Park became part of the Parks Revitalization Project, a collaborative partnership between the Department of Recreation and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Green. Some fifty parks all over the city are now involved in the Project. The Project has helped Friends’ groups strengthen their organizations by providing leadership training and skills workshops each year. The Project has also offered competitive grants for park improvements.
Our Friends’ group has been quite fortunate. Look around the park the next time you are there. The renovated bocce court, the flower bed along Carpenter Street, the historical sign, and the tool shed all came about through Parks Revitalization Project grants. The Department of Recreation has also funded a part-time Summer Maintenance Attendant (SMA) for the last three summers who has helped keep the park clean from May through October.
The Big Dream Comes True
After twelve years of doing smaller-scale improvements, our dream of a major renovation came true. In 2003, our park was one of twelve parks chosen by the Department of Recreation for capital improvements as part of a large grant that the Department received from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Renovations took up much of 2003 and part of 2004.
The results are well worth it. The old concrete paving was ripped out and we now have beautiful pavers. A second flower bed was added along Tenth Street, new benches and tables were installed, and two new trees were planted. The park is truly a transformed space. (See pictures on our reconstruction page)
Fun and Games in the Park
Five years ago, our Friends group started a Summer Bocce League, consisting of some 24 two-person teams. The League is open to all—parent-child teams, women, men, no restrictions! Registration takes place in early May and teams play four times over the course of the summer. (See the bocce web site).
And we have free summer concerts—it’s our fourth season this year, with three to four concerts a season, held on a mid-week evening. Check the sign board or sign up on our email list to get the schedule, or check our web page.
Where Do You Come In?
Perhaps you walk by or through the park on a regular basis. Perhaps you’ve come to one of the summer concerts or have played bocce in the league. Perhaps you just would like to get involved in your local park. Our group would love to have more members—whether you can help out with plantings or clean ups on a regular basis or just occasionally, we’d love to have you! Get on our email list and we’ll let you know what’s happening.
And we are still fundraising for the last major improvement — pedestrian-level lighting in the park — so we welcome a contribution. It’s tax deductible!
Community Hospital stood on the site of Bardascino Park until 1968
Bocce and music in the park