The Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Neighborhood Park Stewardship Program in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation has encouraged the re-connection of citizens to each other and to the land by providing a new vehicle for direct public participation in the conception, creation, and stewardship of parks. Through this program, physical improvements have been made to 21 neighborhood parks and 115 park friend groups have registered with the Park Friends Network, indicating a growing interest in parts as a key component of local revitalization and community investment.

Our Neighborhood Park Stewardship Program includes LOVE Your Park Week, a spring celebration of neighborhood parks at over 100 park sites across the city. After kicking off with a city-wide volunteer day, the week includes movie nights, plant sales, old school game nights, bird walks, yoga in the park, craft fairs, and much more.  With over 10,200 acres in Philadelphia’s park system, this is a great way to explore new parks and to see how local communities are making their parks a vibrant part of their neighborhood.  The expansion into LOVE Your Park Week was a direct result of the sustained commitment of two lead corporate sponsors, ACE Group and NovaCare.

A ground-breaking study from The Trust for Public Land from 2008 quantified the economic impact of Philadelphia’s park system.. They found that the collective wealth and direct savings that come from our Philadelphia parks system, at that time, was $1.9 billion dollars, through increased property values, tourism and environmental savings. This study was based on the Philadelphia parks system in its current, under-resourced state. As ACE Group and NovaCare partner with the Conservancy to expand Growing the Neighborhood, the Conservancy is collectively working to bring Philadelphia closer to an excellent park system and one that will contribute even more to its economic well-being.

Our Stewardship team has been working to advance the following five key objectives in 2017 and beyond: (1) supporting small-scale capital investments at five neighborhood park sites, which will allow under-resourced neighborhood parks to make much-needed repairs that the City of Philadelphia is not able to tackle; (2) increasing our level of support for community-based programming; (3) leading the establishment of four new park friends groups focused in Kensington and West Philadelphia; (4) expanding the skills conference, creating additional training and networking opportunities for more park friend volunteers; and (5) launching a year-round volunteer program, which will take place monthly on Saturdays and will focus on a single park each month, inspiring people to become more active in their own neighborhoods.