On Thursday, August 24th, Fairmount Park Conservancy hosted a special preview and fundraiser party at the new Anna C. Verna Playground at FDR Park. Partygoers enjoyed a first look at the tree houses, climbing structures, slides, 900-square-foot picnic pavilion, and, most importantly, got a chance to try out the Skyline Swing — the largest swing set in North America! Event proceeds will support this new fully inclusive playground, ensuring a brighter future for kids of all ages and abilities who will soon enjoy this world-class play space. The evening also featured performances by SNACKTIME and food from Southeast Asian Market and Latino vendors, with special thanks to event sponsors Barbara Capozzi & Frank Scaramuzza, Philadelphia Film Society, and WRT Design.
“Tonight you’re getting the first look at the Anna C. Verna Playground — a fully inclusive play space designed for all ages and abilities. All around you is a great place for families to come together to enjoy nature and the outdoors with 13 new picnic sites and a pavilion for family gatherings,” said Maura McCarthy, CEO of Fairmount Park Conservancy. “The playground is integrated with natural materials including piloting a new Corkeen safety surface, which is permeable to water, natural, and made of recyclable materials.”
Fairmount Park Conservancy was joined by Representative Jordan Harris, Vincent Thompson on behalf of Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Orlando Rendon, and Friends of FDR President Barb Capozzi for a brief speaking program to remember late Council President Anna C. Verna and highlight the importance of fun, safe, and engaging places for kids to play and learn.
“I grew up in South Philadelphia. For most of my life, Anna C. Verna was the Councilperson of the 2nd District, and then she went on to create a legacy for the City by becoming the first woman to serve as Council President. It is truly befitting that a space this beautiful — with North America’s largest swing set — is named after someone who was a trailblazer herself,” said Representative Harris. “We support this park, and we will continue to support the park. And we do so because we have a firm belief that everybody deserves the right to high-quality green space regardless of your zip code, regardless of your economic status.”
FDR Park’s users represent one of the most diverse cross-sections of Philadelphia found anywhere in the city. It is where immigrant communities, lifelong Philadelphians, and speakers of myriad languages, cultures, and backgrounds come together. The FDR Park Plan improves the park, making it more accessible and providing more resources for the communities that treasure it, while also safeguarding against Philadelphia’s hotter, wetter future.
Click here to learn more about the FDR Park Plan.
If you would like to support this extraordinary playground and leave a lasting legacy, please click here for information about the Park Legacy Program at the Anna C. Verna Playground. Swings, benches, and trees are available to celebrate, honor, or memorialize a loved one or a special event.
Stay tuned for an official ribbon-cutting date this fall!
Special thanks to event sponsors Barbara Capozzi & Frank Scaramuzza, Philadelphia Film Society, and WRT Design.
Photography by Albert Yee.