Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced plans to rebuild the playground in Franklin D. Roosevelt Park. The state-of-the art, $306,000 facility, recently completed in October 2011 using funds from the City of Philadelphia’s capital budget and the FDR Park Trust, was set ablaze late Sunday evening by vandals.
“When I learned about the destruction of this playground by some very thoughtless, evil individuals, my first thought was: ‘how do we get our playground back?’,” said Mayor Nutter. “The first organization that came to mind was the Philadelphia Eagles because time after time it has given back to our great City. The Eagles have always been a great community partner; they understand this neighborhood and know what it means to be a Philadelphian. So with their help, we will be resilient, we will recover and we will rebuild this playground as quickly as possible.”
Christina Lurie, co-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, announced that the Eagles organization will donate funds to assist with the rebuilding effort. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, 2nd District, also pledged $100,000 towards the reconstruction of the site.
“Anyone who damages a playground hurts the children and hurts our entire community,” said Christina Lurie. “FDR is part of our neighborhood, the neighborhood of the Eagles. The Eagles will absolutely step-up and ensure that this playground is fixed. I salute Mayor Nutter for his quick action on this.”
Mayor Nutter also announced that the City will offer a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators responsible for the fire. Parks advocates and neighborhood groups, lead by Kathryn Ott Lovell, Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, offered matching donations to assist with the reward fund: the Fairmount Park Conservancy will contribute $2,500; the Friends of FDR Park will contribute $2,500; Barbara Capozzi, a member of the FDR Friends organization, will contribute $2,500; and the Packer Park residents association will donate $1,000.
The design of the FDR playground included play pieces unique to this site as well as pieces designed to accommodate individuals with physical challenges. More than half of the play site was destroyed. In addition, two large shade trees were also damaged. The City of Philadelphia Fire Marshall’s office responded to the scene on Sunday evening and determined that the blaze was incendiary in nature and not caused accidentally. The Fire Marshall’s office is working with the Police Department investigate and identify the individuals responsible.