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Sat, Feb. 10, 2024
We learned last night that a shooting took place at the park. According to NBC News and police reports, a 17-year-old was hit once in the left arm just before 7 p.m. The victim is in stable condition at a nearby hospital. We hope this person makes a full recovery.
The shooting happened at the basketball courts.
Three suspects have already been taken into custody, according to police. The investigation is ongoing, but you can find out more here.
We want to praise the Markward Rec Center staff for handling the situation in such a calm and professional manner. They were hosting a children’s Valentine’s Day event when the incident occurred, and the staff members acted quickly to secure the area.
We are extremely grateful that our Rec Center staff kept the children in their care safe and emotionally secure during the event.
We know many of you think of the park as an extension of your own backyard, and news like this can feel overwhelmingly personal. We grieve the sense of loss of safety along with you, as we have been lucky to not experience an incident like this in the park in recent memory. We are reminded no one is immune from the larger gun and violence problems that plague the city as a whole.
While FSRP’s ability to control incidents like this is limited, our mission is to make the park the best it can be. We will be in close contact with Rec Center staff and the city to see if there is any way we can assist. We will also continue to press the city to address safety-related issues, like fixing the lighting, to help foster the safest environment possible.
Thank you, and stay safe.
Friends of Schuylkill River Park Board
What We've Achieved, Together
Our 2023 Year in Review
Please consider supporting FSRP with a 2023 tax-deductible year-end donation so we can continue our care of the park in 2024.
Let there be light! Due to eroding underground wiring, the park has struggled with persistent lighting outages this year. FSRP has worked with the city to advocate and coordinate a short-term solution to getting the lights back on in the park.
Dog Park Committee: The dog park is in need of repairs and improvements. We formed a dog park committee at the end of 2023 to spearhead fundraising and mobilize improvement efforts. Stay tuned for more information and a fundraising campaign in 2024.
Beautifying the Rec Center: We created a beautiful mosaic tile installation for the south side of the Rec Center, with the help of local Girl Scout Troop 93942. We are going to continue our efforts into the new year!
Drain Clearing: Managing flooding in the park continues to be one of our biggest challenges. This year we worked with city to do a comprehensive deep cleaning of the storm drains to minimize standing water in the park.
Pollinator Garden: Thanks to a grant and partnership with CCRA, we brought a number of new trees and plants to the park in our new pollinator garden adjacent to the multi-purpose court. These plants will support the broader park ecosystem.
News from the Arboretum: Nine new native trees were added this year to replace declining and dead trees. Be on the lookout for tree tags that identify and inform about many of the park’s trees!
Farmers Market: FSRP worked with Evergreen Events this year to bring a robust farmer's market to the park. Watch for the market to pick up again in April.
Nature Play: This year we continued to experiment with nature play, adding fixtures to the area next to the tot lot and experimenting with bringing more nature play into the wider park.
Events & Programming: 2023 was full of reoccurring events like the Christmas tree recycling, the kids clothing swap, basketball tournaments, and experiments with new programming like the botanical drawing and comic book classes.
Party in the Park: Last but not least, we brought back the annual FSRP fundraising party in June and had a blast drinking, dancing, listening to the Panamaniacs, and raising money for the park.
Park lighting update
Over the past year the lights in most of the park south of the bowl have only been on intermittently, and many times they were not on all. As a result, much of the park was pitch black soon after the sun went down.
Since October of 2022, FSRP has been engaging the City to regularly come out and repair these lights, but fixes have proven temporary at best due to severe degradation of the wiring connecting all the lights. Once one light shorts out, the whole group goes out. The City has asked FSRP to work with them to identify funding sources for a completely new lighting system, but that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take many months, if not over a year, to achieve. We're grateful to the assistance of Sen Nikil Saval's office in navigating potential funding streams to accomplish this.
In the meantime, FSRP has worked with the City to procure temporary lights. These should be installed by the end of 2023. We will continue to keep you updated on the status of a lighting revamp and we look forward to the installation of new lights and a safer park as a result.
Photo in the bowl after sun down.
Adirondack Chairs & Picnic Tables
If you build it they will come... and relax! After lots of hammering, painting, drying, gluing and yelling at the instruction manuals, FSRP built and added some super comfy, wooden Adirondack chairs and wooden picnic tables to the park. Please be kind to them!
We hope they're increasing your enjoyment of the Park!
Markward Plaza Renovations
We had a wonderful time celebrating the re-opening of Markward Plaza! We hope you enjoyed the live music and chatting with our board members about the revised master plan.
Basketball Backboards and Rims
Gone are the days of perpetually broken rims. Thanks to the generous donations from the community and local businesses, FSRP was able to match the funds we raised and replace our basketball hoops with professional grade equipment. We are so proud to make this happen for the community.