According to an article in the South Philly Review, historical landmark Girard Park is finally slated for infrastructure improvements with capital funding of over $250k. Since the park has been neglected and overlooked throughout the past decade, it sadly has become more of a popular place for the homeless to rest in, than serving any other useful purpose. Other than volunteer cleanups by musical students at the Girard Academy and some Holiday programs, the park has been largely ignored.
Jody Della Barba, president of one Girard residents group is working in tandem with another to form, “Friends of Girard Park,” which will be a group dedicated to the improvements necessary to restore this park to its original splendor. Along with this announcement, was a second one: Anthony DeFino, long time Girard Estates resident and former judge who died in 2013, will be honored with a rose garden in his name in the newly renovated park.
His son Vinnie DeFino, a lawyer with the firm DeFino Law Associates and speaking for the family, says they are all touched for this honorarium for his father. DeFino stated that the Judge loved to walk among the park and neighborhoods and it is especially moving that there will be a “rose” garden, since Rose is his mother’s (and the judge’s wife’s) name. Along with the garden in Girard Park, a portrait of Anthony DeFino now hangs in the Philadelphia City Hall, and educational books have been printed about the Judge and other neighborhood heroes to be distributed to area schools.
Girard Park is a central landmark of a historic neighborhood and will finally be restored to the first class amenity that it was intended to be. At first the improvements will be basic and relegated to the “skeleton” or framework of the park; the walks will be repaved, benches will be replaced and the lighting improved. The bare essentials should be completed by spring and paperwork and electrical designs are still in progress.
In order to publicize the need for renovations, and build support and interest, events have been continually held at Girard Park like “Holiday in the Park,” and an Easter egg hunt to try and “open eyes” of residents and/or politicians to really see the condition. Kenyatta Johnson, 2nd District Councilman and State Representative Maria Donatucci took the bait: Johnson organized a cleanup and Donatucci met with residents and the result was instrumental in receiving funding. Donatucci grew up across from the park and took a personal interest in the project.
Currently Philadelphia, the “city of neighborhoods” is undergoing revitalization and improvements in many inner city areas. Next time you are visiting Philly, be sure to put Girard Park on your itinerary. Think you’re interested in living near the park in Girard Estate? Your Philadelphia Realtor AGENT LADY can show you homes for sale in Girard Estates by calling 215-518-5193 or by scheduling an appointment.
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