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Point Breeze crowdfunds park renovation, starting with the basketball court

The Ralph Brooks Park at 20th and Tasker Streets will undergo an ambitious $275,000 renovation, transforming the basketball court into "Rucker Philly," modeled after the famed court in Harlem. But this isn’t just a project to fix up a basketball court -- if Jeffrey Tubbs and his nonprofit Urban Roots get their way, the project will be the first phase of a much larger neighborhood-wide revitalization effort.

The project's first phase is a head-to-toe makeover of the park, complete with the addition of a rain garden and a community garden, all thanks to donations totaling about $241,495 from the City, the Philadelphia Water Department, Urban Roots, the ACE Mentor Program, I.am.SP and Ritter & Plante Associates.

On May 29, Urban Roots launched a crowdfunding campaign on Lucky Ant to close the gap needed for the first phase's $275,000 figure as well as raise money for future plans.

The Park honors Ralph Brooks Jr., a seven-year-old boy who was tragically shot a block away in 1988.

With future phases, Brooks' legacy will be expanded beyond the basketball court. "If you don't play basketball it doesn't mean this project won't benefit you," says Jessie Fox with Here's My Chance, an organization assisting Urban Roots with their crowdfunding efforts.

Tubbs is looking to transform other city-owned parcels nearby to bring a variety of much-needed services to the neighborhood. These include an urban farm, a senior pavilion, new play equipment, public art, and sidewalk and street resurfacing.

If enough money is raised, plans for affordable housing, a sporting-goods store and a commercial kiosk that sells fresh produce to the neighborhood could come to fruition. Tubbs says the three additional park renovation phases will cost about $700,000.

"Everyone is really excited for the project and the benefits it will bring," says Fox. "The effort is bringing the community back together."

For more information on the project, or if you’d like to make a contribution, click here.

Source:  Jessie Fox, Here's My Chance
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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