Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with the Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corporation (SMCDC) is working with the Strawberry Mansion community on a comprehensive design and engagement process for Mander Playground (including the recreation center and grounds) and its connections to the Boxers’ Trail, Randolph Creek, and the Schuylkill River in East Fairmount Park.
The design and engagement process will lead to a comprehensive, phased plan for future improvements at Mander Playground and selected areas of East Fairmount Park.
The plan that will emerge from the design and engagement process will be deeply informed by community participation and expertise from local stakeholders, including knowledge gained from past discussions as well as new opportunities to hear from the neighborhood. The plan will also:
- Produce a new conceptual design and shared vision for Mander Playground, including a Strawberry Mansion neighborhood gateway.
- Outline recommended physical improvements to support park-goers and park programs, increase navigability through wayfinding, and expand restroom capacity at Mander.
- Incorporate existing conceptual designs which proposed connections to Randolph Creek in East Fairmount Park and a pedestrian crossing at Kelly Drive. Known as Mander to the River, these plans, originally created by Ground Reconsidered, offer thoughtful strategies for improved creek trails and pedestrian crossings,
as well as ecological improvements in the Mander vicinity.
- Build on existing investments and position Mander for future investments through Rebuild Philadelphia, the City’s $500 million initiative to revitalize neighborhood parks, recreation centers, playgrounds, and libraries across the city. Mander Playground has been been designated as one of 60 sites on the City’s preliminary list of sites for first round investment.
Mander Playground and Recreation Center Overview
Mander Playground is located at 2140 N. 33rd St, at the intersection of N. 33rd St and Diamond St. Originally built in 1961, the playground includes a recreation center with space for arts and crafts and other activities, a meeting room, and restrooms. In addition to play equipment and swing sets, it also features a pool, basketball courts, a baseball diamond, tennis courts, and a newly-upgraded sprayground. There are shaded areas with benches as well as picnic tables near the entrance.
Mander Playground offers a wide variety of programming, including soccer, flag football, cheerleading, salsa, movie nights, summer camps, after-school programs, and walking clubs. Every September, Strawberry Mansion Day is celebrated at Mander Playground. This annual community celebration features food, music, boxing demonstrations, and the Boxers’ Trail 5K, a popular race that winds through the Boxers’ Trail and finishes at Mander Playground.
Previous Capital Improvements and Investments
There have been a number of recent and planned capital improvements at Mander Playground, which include:
- 2014 design and installation of Joseph E. Mander signage
- 2016 installation of new sprayground by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
- 2017 installation of outdoor water filling station (Partners: Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Philadelphia Water Department, Head of the Schuylkill Regatta) with custom artwork by Amber Art & Design
- Planned Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) improvements led by the Philadelphia Water Department
Strawberry Mansion Reimagines Mander
Today, Mander Playground is the living, breathing epicenter of the neighborhood. As the most used and treasured public space in Strawberry Mansion, Mander Playground serves a hybrid of functions: a place to gather, a place to play, a place to celebrate, and a crossing place.
Residents of Strawberry Mansion are invited to join us for three community events to be held between October and December of 2018 where they can share input and ideas for reimagining Mander.
February 11, 2019: The third and final Strawberry Mansion Reimagines Mander community event brought nearly 60 community members and neighbors to Mander Rec Center for a final presentation of the conceptual master plan for Mander Campus. It was the first time to see the ideas that had been generated, and the Strawberry Mansion was able to give feedback before the final plan is released.
December 3, 2018: More than 60 people attended the second community meeting at Mander Recreation Center, where the design team led an “Invest in Mander” game, encouraging participants to consider investing in three potential scenarios for the Mander plan. Click here for the full meeting recap.
October 20, 2018: The first community event was held on Saturday, October 20th, 2018 at Mander Playground, with nearly 150 people in attendance to celebrate Mander and contribute their ideas for improvement.
Residents of Strawberry Mansion and regular Mander Playground users are encouraged to participate in the master planning process for Mander Playground. Sign up for updates and notice of community meetings below.