H.A. Brown in the process of turning dilapidated playground into potential recess site

Principal Carnivale and volunteers repainted the playground structure, mowed the lawn and removed all the graffiti from the playground.

Volunteers from the community, Friends of H.A. Brown, the East Kensington Neighbors Association and Kensington’s Henry A. Brown School, a school with K-8 students, have dedicated time and effort into restoring the playground at the corner of Firth and Emerald streets, which is just a short, half-block walk from the school.

“The mayor was great at identifying areas throughout the city to have parks and to originally put these structures in for the community to use,” said the school’s principal, Connie Carnivale, “but unfortunately I don’t think Parks and Rec has a schedule for upkeep, so a lot of it depends upon the neighbors to do the upkeeping.”

Carnivale and volunteers repainted the playground structure, mowed the lawn and removed all the graffiti from the playground. Volunteers from EKNA and Friends of H.A. Brown have also helped by committing to mowing the lawn and repainting the structure for two hours on one Saturday every month, according to Carnivale.

The playground features a slide, monkey bars, grass, and a padded surface, “so it’s a lot more conducive to our younger students and would would be a nice area for them to have recess,” said Carnivale.

There’s also some room to potentially add a basketball court or something of that nature in the future.

The school hopes to eventually be able to use the playground for its students.

“Anytime it’s a nice day, we’re going to look to do walking field trips,” Carnivale said.

However, before Brown can have its students use the playground, it must first be fenced to keep children safe from the sometimes heavy traffic on Emerald Street.

Carnivale said the school is looking for a business sponsor to pay for fencing around the site.

Brown does not have an onsite playground at the school.

“We have to use our asphalt,” Carnivale said. “We have a socialized recess with kickball, hopscotch, foursquare, we don’t have any grass areas. … So this would give us a nice playground for our students.”

Carnivale said many of the students are aware of the playground and are anticipating its opening.

“Many of our students have been volunteers on the weekend to help clean it up,” she said. “It’s also something the students will utilize on the weekends.”

If you run a business that’s interested in sponsoring a fence, reach out to Carnivale at cacarnivale@philasd.org.