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Mayor Purzycki Joins West Side Grows to Commemorate Renovated Father Tucker Park

City of Wilmington and West Side Grows Commemorate Renovated Father Tucker Park with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Post Date:07/31/2018 11:00 AM

Resident-driven community development process, in partnership with government, continues to rebuild the West Side from within

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki today joined with West Side Grows Together, city and state officials, and local residents for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the community-led renovations to Father Tucker Park at 9th and Scott Streets on Wilmington’s West Side. Father Tucker is the third recently refurbished park on the City’s West Side, following the completion last year of Fourth Street Park and Connell Street Park.

All three park projects were part of a unique, resident-driven community development process coordinated by West Side Grows Together in partnership with the city, state and federal governments, which is helping to rebuild the West Side community. “I continue to be impressed and encouraged by the outpouring of support and participation by the community for projects such as this,” said Mayor Purzycki. “We can accomplish so much more by working in tandem to strengthen neighborhoods and improve lives. This new park is another example of what can be achieved when communities and government work together to address a pressing need.”

Today’s ceremony included remarks from Mayor Purzycki, Wilmington City Council President Hanifa Shabazz, Director of Parks and Recreation Kevin F. Kelley, Sr., 6th District Council Representative Yolanda McCoy, State Senator Robert Marshall, State Representative Gerald Brady, Paula Roddy of Friends of Father Tucker Park, and Sarah Lester, Director of Cornerstone West CDC.

Local schools and community centers were engaged in the design process of Father Tucker Park from the outset. Judy White, Principal of St. Anthony’s of Padua Grade School, explains, “Our students loved the competition of creating four separate park designs and having the student body vote on their favorite. A lot of thought went into making sure that this was an all-inclusive park that could serve the recreational needs of people of all ages. Thank you for giving our toddlers, students, adults, and senior citizens a nice and safe place to play. We will put it to good use for sure!”

Upgrades to the 20,000 square-foot park and playground cost around $600,000, half of which came from a National Parks Service grant of $306,000 for construction and design improvements. The park’s renovations included removal of all paving, play equipment and fencing, and installation of new play equipment with wood fiber safety surfacing, exercise pathways, benches, picnic areas, and a spray shower with colorful stained concrete. A new feature of the park is a storm water management plan to direct water off site and divert it to collection areas away from the playground.

Mayor Purzycki today acknowledged the remaining contributors to the Father Tucker Park project which, in addition to the City of Wilmington, include West Side Grows Together, the Delaware State Legislature, the Friends of Parks Groups, Locus Partners, RAS Landscape Architects, Rock Solid Construction, Inc., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) , 5th and 7th District Neighborhood Planning Councils, the Nemours Foundation, the Longwood Foundation, Bank of America, the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, and the Delaware Economic Development Office’s Neighborhood Building Blocks Fund.

Councilman Bob Williams looks forward to the updated park in his District. “Thank you to everyone who participated in this park renovation,” said Williams. “This was truly a community effort. From the design, through planning and completion, this park will be a neighborhood treasure for years to come.”

West Side Grows Together is a coalition of Wilmington’s West Side residents, businesses, churches and community groups working together to improve and strengthen their neighborhoods. In 2012, the West Side Revitalization Plan was unveiled which outlined the community’s vision for its future and the steps needed to make that vision a reality. Partners work together in five main areas: community pride, businesses and jobs, youth opportunities, great parks, and housing choices. Father Tucker Park is another example of engaged citizens bringing together resources and other citizens to improve neighborhood green spaces.