Playground, spring surprise for children

March 20, 2009 3:40:47 PM PDT
On this first day of spring, some children in the city's Feltonville section now have a new place to play. Actually it's an old playground that's been given a makeover. Kids from Feltonville Intermediate School couldn't wait to swing into spring in their new playground.

"It was pretty awesome. The swings, everything," fifth grader Damian Soto said.

The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department has felt the pinch in these tough economic times.

At the start of his administration, Mayor Nutter called for the business community to donate their time and money.

Shire Pharmaceuticals in Wayne came through by donating $165,000 and countless hours for this playground.

"We contacted the Recreation Department. They gave us a list of a number of great projects that we could work on and this is one where we felt we could have a lot of impact," V.P. of Shire Pharmaceuticals Mike Yasick said.

With an additional three-year, $100,000 commitment from Shire, more of Philadelphia's city pools will open this summer.

"It's really fun. I did come here before to swim and I hope they open the swimming pool again," fifth grader Lara Abdelnabi said.

The mayor hopes more local businesses step up and get involved.

"We'll get through these tough economic times, but if we stay positive, we stay together, we turn toward each other instead of against each other, we work in the spirit of partnership and great relationship, more and more of these events will take place in Philadelphia," Mayor Nutter said.

"We've had private, corporate Philadelphia step up and say we hear the call, Mayor Nutter," Commissioner of the Department of Recreation Susan Slawson said.

When businesses answer the call to service, the kids benefit in a big way.

"I can't get enough of it. Every day I come from school, I go on the swings; sometimes I even do my homework here," fifth grader Natasha Scott said.

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