The first official day of summer in Fishtown saw the reopening of the Francis Lederer Pool, better known as the “Swimmo,” following a $4 million renovation project.
Mayor Jim Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell and representatives from the William Penn Foundation, Welcome America Inc. and the Fishtown Recreation Advisory Council were all on-hand for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, June 21, that also featured a block party celebration on Montgomery Avenue.
“It’s time to give our children, families and community members public spaces they deserve now, and we are so happy to be celebrating this event with them,” Kenney said.
Closed in 2016 due to a need for significant repairs, the pool now features fresh, new amenities. The revamped space includes a brand-new, 2,460-square-foot pool, a new concrete pool deck, a partially shaded sprayground and an art piece by artist Carin Mincemoyer referencing the Delaware River.
The project is part of the city’s larger Rebuild initiative, which aims to fund renovations of various public spaces such as recreation centers. The initiative is funded through money collected from the city’s sweetened beverage tax as well as a $100 million investment from the Penn Foundation. Just this summer, over $30 million worth of Rebuild projects are expected to open throughout the city.
“Like the mayor, we want everyone in this city to have access to high-quality parks, recreation centers and libraries,” said Shawn McCaney, the executive director of the Penn Foundation. “All the time, people ask me, ‘How do you know that big investment is having an impact?’ Well today, I could just say, ‘Take a look.’ ”
The pool opening was also part of Wawa Welcome America, the city’s multi-week Fourth of July festival. The celebration features free, family-friendly programming such as live music and fireworks.