On November 17, 2023, Mt. Airy CDC joined Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and state and local officials to break ground on a $10 million capital project at Simons Recreation Center in West Oak Lane. Mt. Airy CDC obtained $2 million toward the renovation budget via a RACP grant and is helping to administer the project.
Mayor-Elect Cherelle Parker, who grew up in the neighborhood and is a former West Oak Lane Wildcat, spoke about the community’s enthusiasm for this enhancement and the impact that the renovated rec center will have on the neighborhood.
The Simons renovations are the latest in an ongoing partnership with State Senator Art Haywood and Mayor-Elect Parker to recognize the eastern side of Stenton Avenue as part of the Mt. Airy community and ensure that it has access to the same resources the area west of Stenton does.
Mt. Airy CDC Executive Director Philip Dawson said, “The coming improvements will truly transform Simons Rec Center and bring top-tier athletic facilities to neighborhood residents. Mt. Airy CDC looks forward to managing the completion of this exciting project.”
The Improvement Project includes the following:
- New multi-sport turf field with a 6-lane regulation track
- Improvements to two existing ball fields, one softball and one little league baseball
- New locker room building structure for home and visiting teams
- New bathroom facility
- Upgraded accessible playground with play areas for 2-5 year olds, and 5-12 year olds and new sprayground
- New improvements to the basketball courts, and tennis courts
- Development of cheer and dance practice area
- Structural improvements to the exterior site wall
- New green stormwater management infrastructure
Speakers at the ground breaking included:
- Honorable Cherelle Parker, Mayor-Elect and Former 9th District Councilwoman
- Anthony Phillips, City Councilmember, 9th District
- Orlando Rendon, Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
- Philip Dawson, Executive Director, Mt. Airy Community Development Corporation
- Congressman Dwight Evans, 3rd Congressional District
- Honorable Isabella Fitzgerald, former State Representative, 203rd District
- Clarence Savage, President, Simons Recreation Center Advisory Council
- Carlton Williams, President, Oak Lane Youth Association