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Philadelphia, PASeptember 20, 2022 − Today Senator Nikil Saval (D–Philadelphia) announced $416,469 in grants for recreation centers and community spaces throughout Pennsylvania’s First Senatorial District. 

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of open spaces for the health and wellbeing of Philadelphians,” said Senator Saval. “These spaces help nourish our sense of belonging and communal identity by providing all of us with a place to connect, as well as to rest and to play. In this time of climate crisis, green spaces help to regulate extreme temperatures, mitigate air pollution, and improve water quality. And right now, of critical importance, public recreation spaces are a core part of community safety. I’m incredibly proud to help support, preserve, and enhance these vital spaces for all to enjoy.”

The grants awarded go to benefit the following projects:

  • $210,000 for the preservation initiative at Crease Street Garden. 
  • $131,469 for the outdoor basketball court renovation at Murphy Recreation Center. 
  • $75,000 for the playground improvement project at East Passyunk Community Center.

Crease Street Garden is a beloved public space located in the heart of Fishtown. The garden has become a community gathering point for neighbors, and this grant will allow the Neighborhood Gardens Trust to purchase the land on which the garden sits, in partnership with the community, preserving it for the long-term benefit of all Fishtown residents. 

“Friends of the Crease Street Garden is deeply grateful to Senator Saval for his support,” said Randal Cowles, Board Chair, Friends of the Crease Street Garden. “We are proud to have turned a couple of overgrown, trash-filled lots into a beautiful public garden. But we needed support from the Commonwealth to save it from sale to the highest bidder. Senator Saval was in our corner from Day 1.” 

“As Philadelphia’s neighborhood garden protector, Neighborhood Gardens Trust is thrilled that with this grant, we can permanently preserve the Crease Street Garden,” said Jenny Greenberg, Executive Director, Neighborhood Gardens Trust. “We are grateful to Senator Saval and Representative Mary Isaacson for their essential support to make this green space a permanent part of the community.”  

The East Passyunk Community Center has established itself as a service leader for children, families, and seniors through its myriad programs and dedicated professional staff.  This grant will help the Center improve its beautiful outdoor playground area for the benefit of all the neighborhood’s children. 

“On behalf of the East Passyunk Community Center Advisory Council and the children of the East Passyunk neighborhood, I wish to express my appreciation to State Senator Nikil Saval and State Representative Elizabeth Fiedler for their efforts on our behalf to secure funds toward the playground component of our campus remodeling design,” said Joseph F. Martino, President, Advisory Council of the East Passyunk Community Center.

Murphy Recreation Center is a community anchor in South Philadelphia. Murphy Rec has numerous athletic fields, multipurpose rooms, a playground, and a pool, all in one location, making it a rarity in Philadelphia. This grant will help pay for the costs of updating their popular outdoor basketball courts.

Since taking office in December 2020, Senator Saval has brought back tens of millions of dollars in state money for the people and communities of the First Senatorial District. He is committed to ensuring public money is used for public good. 

The grants are awarded through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development, through its Act 13 program. The Act 13 program supports grants to greenways, trails, and recreation, among other statewide environmental initiatives. More information on the CFA and Act 13 programs is available here: