VIDEO: Groundbreaking for rec center in South Philadelphia

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Officials broke ground Monday on a $2.9 million renovation that will give children the chance to play on artificial turf at the Smith Recreation Center. (WPVI)

A highly-anticipated transformation began Monday in South Philadelphia.

Officials broke ground on a $2.9 million renovation that will give children the chance to play on artificial turf at the Smith Recreation Center.

The site at 24th and Jackson will eventually feature a state-of-the-art facility, with basketball courts, a playground, a fitness trail and a new field.

The ultimate goal is to create a safe place for children to play and exercise.

Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin and his foundation were among the many partners who helped make this happen.

"I'm again so proud to be a part of something like this," said Barwin. "There's an entire community involved, and this will result in creating a healthier South Philadelphia for the kids that live in this neighborhood."

The project is scheduled in three phases.

Work on the rec center building will be completed first.
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