On January 26
the Friends of Seger Park Playground
(FOSPP) will hold an open house, officially celebrating their brand new playground equipment (the area opened to the public on January 11). The renovation effort has been five years in the making, and netted $500,000 worth of improvements to the Washington Square West park, located on Lombard between 10th and 11th Streets.
From 2 to 5 p.m., FOSPP will showcase their play equipment while also saying "thank you" to supporters. The open house will also offer an opportunity to raise awareness for the group's next big venture: a Phase II, $250,000 renovation that will bring an iconic, functional water feature to the park.
That project—dubbed Fluidscape—is the winning concept from a summer 2011 design competition. Sixteen entries were received from around the world, voting was held that July, and a jury of community and city representatives convened to make the final decision.
"We wanted a Center City landmark, something to brand the park as well as the neighborhood," says FOSPP's Wendy Ramunno. "We also wanted a functional sprayground that could be used by kids." This desire led the jury to choose Fluidscape, an entry designed by Kansas State architecture professor Nathan Howe.
Ramunno says the design competition was created out of necessity: The park’s current water feature is broken, and the cost to repair it is prohibitive. Since kids in Center City—especially those without access to a pool or beach—need a safe place to cool off during hot Philly summers, something had to be done.
With Fluidscape, Ramunno and FOSPP believe they have found a solid solution. Once complete, the concrete structure will rise from the ground, creating water flows, tunnels, showers and mists for kids to enjoy. In the winter, the structure can be utilized for snow forts, igloos and tunnels.
Ramunno and FOSPP are hesitant to set a timeline for construction to commence, but with $50,000 already in the bank and $200,000 to go, Ramunno believes their fundraising goal is within reach. "We’re really happy with the progress so far," she says, "but we’re still very focused on getting the money raised and construction started as soon as possible."
: Wendy Ramunno, Friends of Seger Park Playground
: Greg Meckstroth