Adaire Schoolyard Groundbreaking Celebration

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 11:30am

The Trust for Public Land invites the community to a day 4 years in the making: The groundbreaking celebration of the Adaire Schoolyard Revitalization Project! Join city, school district, and neighborhood leaders, and the Adaire school community in celebrating the start of Phase 1, which will bring a rain garden, playground, play areas and fenced-off teacher parking lot to Palmer and Thompson! After the ceremony, Friends of Adaire will launch planning for Phase 2 at a working lunch for volunteers interested in shaping the schoolyard's future. Questions and RSVP for the working lunch to



A.J. Thomson's picture

This is a great win for our community. It's amazing to see how our community is getting top-of-the-line public services. It's been a long time coming. Congrats to Friends of Adaire and the kids they are dedicated to helping.

c0llins's picture

Will the revitalization get the ignorant people's cars off the sidewalk on Palmer St?

ddddenis's picture

Recreation Renaissance of the Riverwards (tm)(not really tm)! First, they came for Cione, and my kids played there, because they play. Then, they came for Penn Treaty Park, and my kids played there, too. Then, they came for the Adaire schoolyard. And the Fishtown Rec. And Hackett's schoolyard. And Pop's. And Hagert Street.
I like to think of the kids not yet born who will grow up in a much different neighborhood than the one we moved into, and when I pre-bemoan them for "taking it all for granted," I think of all the NKCDC and FNA work I took/take for granted in really seeding the parts of the neighborhood I enjoy, and I realize that's just the natural order of things.

Lutherie's picture

Or how about the teachers who park in the school yard? There never was car parking in that school yard growing up and there shouldn't be now.

ddddenis's picture

Teacher parking will be accommodated in a new, fenced-off lot in the northeast corner of the property along Palmer, removing a safety concern of incompatible uses while still accommodating a key need of the school community.

c0llins's picture


Is there a possibility of installing vertical posts on the school yard side of Palmer St to keep people from parking on it so that kids, parents, and other reisidents can, you know, walk on the sidewalk?

Serious question.

ddddenis's picture

I know it's come up in the past, and I'll inquire about it again. I'm not sure who'd be responsible for that. I do see PPA intermittently ticketing there, but it doesn't seem to dissuade the behavior. Sidewalk parking is an issue on both sides of the school property, along Palmer and Earl Streets, and I too hate how such parking forces people who get around on wheels, among others, into the dangerous streets.

jbette01's picture

HUGE Thank You & Congratulations to everyone that has endured bureaucracy, endless emails, challenges and a zillion questions to get this done. Project like this ain't easy! YOU GUYS ROCK

friends of adaire's picture

Here's the Press Release for tomorrow's celebration! Join us, either for the celebration or the working lunch after, or both!

Construction Begins on Green Schoolyard at Alexander Adaire School
Groundbreaking Celebration Marks Latest Schoolyard Renovation Underway through City-wide Partnership with School District, Philadelphia Water Department, and The Trust for Public Land

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Students at Fishtown’s Alexander Adaire School were joined today by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite, Council President Darrell Clarke, and other dignitaries to kick off construction of a new green schoolyard designed for the public school and the community it serves.

The Adaire schoolyard is the latest in a citywide partnership between the School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and national non-profit The Trust for Public Land. These organizations are collaborating to provide green community areas in neighborhoods lacking high-quality outdoor places to play and learn. The work advances several City priorities, including the School District’s Green Futures plan, the Water Department’s Green City, Clean Waters plan, and the Kenney administration’s vision to create a more equitable citywide network of parks and community spaces throughout Philadelphia.

“This schoolyard not only provides enhanced learning opportunities, but also brings a new green space to the community and protects the Delaware River,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “It is a permanent example of how partnerships between City departments and nonprofits can have a positive and lasting impact in our neighborhoods and the environment. This is a great day for the Alexander Adaire School, the Fishtown community and Philadelphia’s waterways.”

The new Adaire schoolyard was designed to provide improved opportunities for recreation and learning and will also capture stormwater on rainy days with new green infrastructure features. Currently a bare asphalt yard, the new schoolyard will soon include a large rain garden with a nature trail for exploration and learning, play areas, such as a toddler playground with colorful tumbling hills to promote creative play, benches, and a seat wall to provide ample shaded seating for gathering and relaxing.

“The green schoolyard at Adaire School teaches our students firsthand what it means to protect the environment and conserve resources” said Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. “It also closely aligns with the goals of the District’s Green Futures plan, which is designed to make our schools and surrounding communities more sustainable. I look forward to working with our City’s Water and Parks & Recreation departments, in addition to The Trust for Public Land, to bring these innovative outdoor spaces to even more of our schools.”

“When the City partners with neighborhood residents and outside organizations, together we can accomplish almost anything,” said Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis, who played a lead role in launching the partnership. “Not only will these schoolyard improvements bring joy to the children, residents and visitors of the neighborhood, they also support our green stormwater management initiatives and add value to our City’s open spaces.”

In addition to announcing the work at the Adaire schoolyard, the partners also noted plans underway to redesign and improve the neighboring Fishtown Recreation Center.

“During a time of fiscal challenges in the School District, these partners and this community really stepped up to give children the play spaces they deserve,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke said. “I’d like to thank the School District, my colleagues in City government, Adaire staff and supporters, and The Trust for Public Land for coming together and working out a collaborative solution for needed capital improvements with limited funds. It was not always easy, but we figured it out and we’re here today, breaking ground on a new green schoolyard for Adaire and soon to begin much-needed improvements to Fishtown Recreation Center.”

“Friends of Adaire could not be more excited to celebrate this groundbreaking,” said Denis Devine, Friends of Adaire’s volunteer project leader. “It’s been a privilege to work with all of our incredible partners over four years to make this dream a reality. We look forward to the Adaire kids learning and playing on a transformed, green schoolyard, and we look forward to working with the Fishtown community to maintain the park and public access to it throughout the year.”

“The Philadelphia Water Department is proud to support this project through our Stormwater Management Incentives Program,” said Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty. “Green schoolyard improvements like this protect our rivers from stormwater runoff and teach the next generation of Philadelphia citizens about the importance of improving water quality, making this a win for Fishtown, the environment and all of Philadelphia.”

The transformation of the Adaire schoolyard is one of numerous schoolyards planned for similar transformation. Working with City partners, The Trust for Public Land led the creation of new schoolyards at the William LOVE School, the William Cramp School and the John Taggart School in recent years. The non-profit organization is currently overseeing the design and development of additional outdoor spaces at a dozen other schoolyards and City recreation centers, in park-deprived neighborhoods, including the Fishtown Recreation Center. Over the next five years, the City and School District partnership with The Trust for Public Land aims to complete as many as 30 green schoolyards and recreation centers.

“Philadelphia’s schoolyards and recreation centers are the natural gathering places for kids and families in our neighborhoods, so they are the ideal place to invest resources to create a healthy community,” said Anthony Cucchi, The Trust for Public Land’s Pennsylvania State Director. “Almost 10,000 Philadelphia residents live within a ten-minute walk of the schoolyard, so these improvements will have far-reaching benefits in addition to helping the Adaire students thrive.”

The citywide partnership is funded by a combination of City, State, and School District sources, leveraged by private funding raised by The Trust for Public Land. Philanthropic support for the program began with a leadership grant from The William Penn Foundation and The Trust for Public Land continues to lead an ongoing fundraising campaign to support the development of new sites, including support for community participation in the design process and seed funding for stewardship and programming.


About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit

About The School District of Philadelphia
The School District of Philadelphia is the largest school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the eighth-largest public school system in the United States. Enrollment includes more than 200,000 students in public, charter and alternative schools, and more than 17,250 employees. Under the leadership of Superintendent William R. Hite, the vision of the School District is to deliver on the right of every child in Philadelphia to an excellent public school education and ensure all children graduate from high school ready to succeed. The School District’s strategic mission, outlined in Action Plan 3.0, focuses on grade-level literacy, quality instruction and leadership, college- and career-readiness and financial stability. For more information about the School District, visit

About Philadelphia Water
The Philadelphia Water Department serves the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater, and stormwater services. The utility plans for, operates, and maintains both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high-quality drinking water to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial, and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively. For more information, visit

Anthony Cucchi, The Trust for Public Land, 917-797-3859,

Megan Lello, School District of Philadelphia,

Laura Copeland, Philadelphia Water Department, 215-685-4902,

ddddenis's picture

Hi. I'm sure you're sick of me posting here about this; sorry. I wanted to note that Frankford Hall is generously donating delicious food for lunch for our launch of the Phase 2 Planning Process, a working lunch that starts immediately after the celebration ends with a photo op. So, maybe 12:30?
As much as I'm excited for tomorrow's gathering of the Big Wigs, I'm at least as excited about this smaller, less-heralded working lunch. There's 2 big parts of Phase 2: How to take care of the great park/playground we're getting, including how to get grants to extend the curriculum into the schoolyard, how to keep it clean and safe, how to manage access to it on weekends and summer, where to put benches and lighting, etc. And then the other half is what can we do with the rest of the schoolyard that won't be touched by this big awesome Phase 1 (meaning, everything that's not fenced off now!). Do we just put some new paint down for a basketball court and get a new backboard? Do we install a vegetable garden? Do we ... (fill in the blanks along with us!). That's all right after this great Groundbreaking Celebration finishes up, for anyone who wants to pitch in and work on Phase 2.
AND if you live across the street on Palmer, of course WE WANT YOU!!

roman's picture

It was a nice affair. Photos will be coming.