ABOVE PHOTO: Dignitaries at the Hunting Park baseball field event were: from left to right: Katrina Wilhelm, executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy; John Gattuso, board president of the Fairmount Park Conservancy; Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank President and CEO for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware; and Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies First Baseman and founder of The Ryan Howard Family Foundation.
Last week, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy broke ground on the Hunting Park baseball field to kick off the field’s $500,000 renovation project. City of Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Citizens Bank President and CEO Daniel K. Fitzpatrick and The Phillies’ Ryan Howard joined Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy in the ceremonial groundbreaking. The project is a part of a long-term comprehensive Master Plan commissioned by the Fairmount Park Conservancy to revitalize Hunting Park, the 87-acre landscaped park in North Philadelphia. The field’s renovation will be one of the first projects tackled in the Master Plan’s $2 million first phase. Funding for the Hunting Park baseball field has been provided by the City of Philadelphia, The Ryan Howard Family Foundation, the Citizens Bank Foundation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Growing the Neighborhood program.
“The Hunting Park baseball field renovation project is consistent with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation’s mission to promote the well-being of the City, its citizens and visitors by offering high quality recreation centers and athletic programs,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis. “Philadelphia Parks & Recreation sincerely appreciates the City of Philadelphia’s support for this project, especially Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilman Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez.”
The goal of the Hunting Park revitalization project is to create a safe and well-maintained park space that will provide a place for healthy recreation for children and families, bring neighbors together and serve as a catalyst for a larger neighborhood renewal. The Master Plan was created by landscape architecture firm Wells Appel and contains community-identified improvements that were developed through the master planning process led by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Green Program. The Master Plan was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Comcast, Patricia Kind and PECO. The Hunting Park baseball field project will help support the Master Plan’s mission to improve park safety, enhance the park design, support expanded youth programming and increase park usage.
“Hunting Park’s baseball field will be upgraded to allow a new level of play as well as to become a source of pride for players, coaches, parents and the community,” said Katrina Wilhelm, Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. “The Conservancy is thrilled to have officially broken ground on the field and is sincerely grateful for the support of Pennsylvania State Rep.Tony Payton, Ryan Howard and his Family Foundation, the Citizens Bank Foundation and the funders of our Growing the Neighborhood program- ACE, NovaCare Rehabilitation, PRWT Services, Inc. U.S. Facilities, Inc., Medrisk and TD Charitable Foundation.”
The Ryan Howard Family Foundation is dedicated to the Hunting Park revitalization effort and has committed additional funding for the project. “I am proud to support the Hunting Park renovation project,” Howard said “The progress and changes that are underway are clearly having a positive impact on the community. As a result, The Ryan Howard Family Foundation is pleased to donate an additional $50,000 to this Project, as part of our strong commitment to this effort.”
“The Citizens Bank Foundation is proud to be a part of this exciting project,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank President and CEO for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “Our core mission is to help revitalize neighborhoods and this project is clearly a home run. We are proud to join the City of Philadelphia, Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Ryan Howard Family Foundation in providing the opportunities to play first-class baseball on this field.”
Construction on the Hunting Park baseball field is slated for mid-October. Improvements include:
- Regrading and resurfacing the play area with new turf and sand/clay infield with warning track
- Perimeter fencing to highlight the field and protect it from abuse
- New backstop, dugouts, benches, water fountains, bleachers, pathways and a landscape that creates a seamless connection to the surrounding park area
- Lighting improvements
Last week’s groundbreaking ceremony featured remarks by City of Philadelphia Mayor Nutter; Pennsylvania State Representative Tony Payton; Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis; Councilman Darrell Clarke, Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez; Ryan Howard; Daniel K. Fitzpatrick; Leroy Fisher, President of Hunting Park United; Katrina Wilhelm; and John Gattuso, Board President of the Fairmount Park Conservancy.