Our park is named after Giuseppe Bardascino, a resident of Carpenter Street, and founder and leader of the Italian Brass Band, from 1912 to 1952. It’s hard to imagine today that a four-story building — Community Hospital — originally stood on the site. When the hospital closed in 1968, the building sat empty for several years and was eventually demolished. The City acquired the land and built the park, complete with bocce court, in 1978. By the early 90’s, the park had fallen into disrepair, with a broken concrete surface, vandalized benches, dead trees, a bocce court in need of repairs, and no greenery or flowers. Broken bottles and trash littered the ground — a neglected park. In 1991, a handful of neighbors banded together and formed the Friends of Bardascino Park, with the goal to rejuvenate the space and make it a clean and safe and lovely communal gathering place again. The Friends group spearheaded a major renovation in 2003, and over the years has replaced trees, benches, and the water fountain. The Friends organize cleanups as well as events and activities in the park.
Partnerships Keep it Going
Since 1999, the Friends of Bardascino Park have participated in the Parks Revitalization Project, a collaborative partnership between Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR), the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and park Friends’ groups all over the city. The Revitalization Project provides leadership training and skills workshops and offers competitive grants for park improvements. When the park was renovated in 2003, our group worked closely with PPR in the redesign. Colored pavers replaced the concrete surface, planting beds were added, and new benches and tables installed. Our group is the liaison to PPR for park-related concerns. Maintaining the Park: Clean and Green Philadelphia Parks and Recreation funds a part-time Summer Maintenance Attendant (SMA) who helps keep the park clean from May through October. From November through April, the Friends of Bardascino Park organize cleanups.