Residents in Upper Lawrenceville may have noticed some activity at Duncan Playground. The Department of Public Works has begun work to dismantle the current playground equipment. As many know, this site has been vandalized and left in terrible condition over the years. We have received regular complaints regarding some of the activity underway there, dangerous items found, and the overall unsafe condition of the park. Residents worked to create the Upper Lawrenceville Plan over the last two years that calls for converting that site into a more active use that will engage families in safe, productive, and attractive ways.
The Lawrenceville Community Plan, Upper Lawrenceville Plan, and Open Space Plan all call for reimagining that site. It was clear in our community planning meetings that residents wanted to keep the space public, as the 10th Ward has lost a number of public gathering spaces over the last few years: schools, churches, etc. In our meetings, residents were interested in creating a space that engaged families in new ways, and that also created a better connection to the adjacent greenway. Ideas that were presented included creating a public fruit orchard, a community garden space, food production space for local businesses, elements that work with the topography of the site that could encourage free play among children, and areas for residents to meet, sit, and enjoy.
To begin looking at how to create this, we have engaged The Penn State Center who is currently working on potential designs for the space.
Additionally, as part of those meetings, residents expressed interest in formalizing the trail network that runs adjacent to the site and informally exists now, in addition to reinvesting in McCandless Playground to make that a more attractive play space for families. The Upper Lawrenceville Greening Committee will be working on these things moving forward with support from the Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United. The next meeting of the Committee is June 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Door of Hope Church. We hope that anyone interested in the Duncan Playground site, and anyone with an interest in working on these projects, will attend.
If you have not seen the Upper Lawrenceville Plan, it is available on the Lawrenceville Corporation’s website.
In addition to the work around the greenspaces, there are also committees working on creating Riverfront Access at McCandless Avenue (and we are planning a Riverfront picnic for the community on June 7!), and working on housing issues within Upper Lawrenceville. You can join any of these committees by emailing Ed Nusser at Ed@lawrencevillecorp.com.
Please contact Lauren at Lawrenceville United with any questions or concerns. We are happy to share notes from past meetings, and we hope to see you at the upcoming meetings.