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New Playground Open at Penn Treaty Park

Fishtown celebrates a new play space.

The new playground at Penn Treaty Park officially opened June 14, replacing an old, flood-prone play space with little separation between bigger and smaller kids. 


“Improvements have been in the works for quite some time,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, the commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “But great things come to those who wait, and no one knows that better than friends of Penn Treaty.”


The dedication ceremony featured words from Ott Lovell, City Councilman Mark Squilla, and A.J. Thomson, the president of Friends of Penn Treaty Park. The Friends of Penn Treaty Park passed out free backpacks to children and provided free ice cream after the dedication ceremony.


“We’ve always used this space, especially in the summer, but this really makes it more usable and even more family-friendly,” said Melinda DiStefano, who frequents the park with her family. “We love that there’s open green space and we picnic and run around all day, and then move to the playground and then back to the green space and then down to the water. So the new playground is just a great addition.”


“I feel like it’s more easy for smaller kids to play separately,” said DiStefano’s son Maxwell, 9. “Because before this there was just one big playground and I think a lot of kids, it was easier for them to get hurt or trampled by older kids.”


Ott Lovell, who lived in Fishtown for 10 years, said the new playground represents the growth the neighborhood has seen in recent years.


“Some really great stuff is happening for young people and young families in Fishtown,” she said.


Squilla said another goal moving forward is to install lights around the playground so it can be used by families well into the evening.


Thomson, who helped spearhead the project, said that while he wants families to enjoy the new playground, he hopes they will continue to enjoy the open green spaces, like DiStefano’s family does.


“Remember that this is a natural place,” Thomson said. “Enjoy nature, enjoy your family, enjoy a great sunny day. Use the whole park. You have a chance to fish, you have a chance to use the waterfront.”


Penn Treaty Park will host events all summer, including a free concert and fireworks over the river on July 1 and a showing of Moana on July 26. A full schedule of events is available on the Penn Treaty Park website.


Photographs by Erin Moran. 



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