John Kalicki and John Wilson of Powers Park Conservancy support Love Your Park Week.

Community Spotlights

Why we love Powers Park, Port Richmond’s ‘little gem’

by Melissa Romero on April 20, 2018

In honor of the upcoming Love Your Park Week (May 12-20, 2018), we’ll be highlighting some of Philly’s amazing parks and Park Friends Groups who work hard to keep their neighborhood’s public spaces clean, green, and beautiful. This week, get to know Powers Park in Port Richmond and Powers Park Conservancy!

Powers Park is a small park in the heart of Port Richmond. The tree at the center of the park was given to Powers Park Conservancy by Councilman Mark Squilla.

There’s a reason why Port Richmond residents call Powers Park their “little gem.” The .89-acre park hides away in the neighborhood, surrounded by charming brick rowhomes on all four sides. And in the spring and summer, large, looming trees provide plenty of shade. It may be small in size, but Powers Park has a big following among those who are lucky enough to stumble upon it.

“We call it Port Richmond’s little gem because not many people know it’s here,” says John Wilson, a Port Richmond resident and Powers Park Conservancy member. “Now, especially when it’s nice, you’ll see families, couples, and people who bike from one point to another come out. It’s become a beacon for the area.”

Wilson and John Kalicki have been park champions of Powers Park for years, and are responsible for creating the Powers Park Conservancy in 2013. After all, they live right across the street from the park, which was established in 1908 as Colonel Thomas J. Powers Park.

Before then, Powers Park suffered from vandalism and illicit activities. So Wilson and Kalicki decided to take action and form the Powers Park Conservancy as a way to keep the park as a safe, clean, and welcoming place for all to enjoy.

Love Your Park Week each May and Love Your Park Service Day really help Powers Park stay clean and green. Kalicki says it’s proven to be a great way to encourage Port Richmond residents to come out and show their support for such a beloved gem in the neighborhood.

Powers Park works closely with the Richmond Branch Free Library of Philadelphia, left, on events throughout the year.

“For the day, it helps to have others gain a vested interest in the park,” Kalicki says. “And it basically gets everybody into the park. And if you have people in the park, you’re less likely to have undesirable behavior that you don’t want in the park.”

At this year’s Love Your Park Week, Powers Park Conservancy will take part in the May 12 citywide service day. From 10 to 11 a.m., volunteers are encouraged to come out and help beautify the park, whether it’s by painting benches, tables, and trash cans or planting new bulbs in the center of the park and at its entrances.

“Once all of the flowers bloom, we keep our corners colorful with reds, purples, and yellows,” says Wilson. “Our goal is to make everything colorful.”

Today, Powers Park is home to events nearly all year long, from Howl-o-ween, which features a parade of dogs dressed up in their best Halloween costumes, to movie nights with popcorn, to live music performances.

“We try to do little niche events where you can go and interact with the event and others,” says Kalicki. “As long as it brings someone here and they’re having fun and the park is being used for something good!”

Volunteer registration for Love Your Park Week is now open! Click here to sign up and learn about the more than 50 free events taking place in Philly’s parks all week.

Thanks to the Knight Foundation and Chubb Charitable Foundation for making Love Your Park Week possible, and to Bank of America, TD Bank, BlackRock, and PECO for their support!