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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 205

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Spray pool at Tarken Playground proves better than open fireplug. Feltonville Recreation Center's passengers travel on imagination. (5 3 I f.V 1 I sir sr" '7--'- -v- -V-'-r-'''' -L'IV II a III it. 1 ill L. i Children at Mann Recreation Center love their concrete porpoise.

Wild Indians work off extra energy in fort at Simpson Playground. for art, singing, dancing, handicraft classes, and some for just plain socializing. By 1967 every playground in the city will have been- redeveloped as part of the current program. The 91st dedication of new or redeveloped facilities will be held on May 31, when the Samuel Rose Playground at 75th street and Lansdowne avenue is dedicated. (For photographs, see The World We Live In page in the Roto-comics Section.) If Crawford's Recreation Department is as fortunate as usual, the sun will beam down on this ceremony.

For none of the 90 dedications held so far has been rained out. Perhaps the weather reflects the happy fact that when a playground is redeveloped attendance jumps as much as 600 percent. must swim and birds fly, children must crawl and climb. "If it's mountable," the youngsters say, "it's wonderful." Reflecting this, Philadelphia's playgrounds have become a climber's carnival. There are igloo, cactus tree and wavy wall climbers.

There are balance beam climbers, and triple spin climbers and squirrel house climbers. There are even magic carpet, wing-ding and hinky-dink climbers. No two playgrounds in the city are exactly alike; each holds something different, even if it's just a merry flyer or a concrete jeep. But mixed with these intriguing items are fire engines, trains, turtles, saddle slides, spiral slides, climbing nets, and castles and moats. Too, there are 43 swimming pools, which were used by almost 2,300,000 people last year.

There is Camp William Penn, two day camps, and some assorted facilities, including the Tinicum Wildlife Preserve and the former Pennsylvania State Fish Hatchery. This variety reflects a second Crawford belief, which is that playgrounds and recreation centers don't exist for children alone. In fact, one of his favorite statements is that the family that plays together stays together. Thus the city's recreation program is aimed at everyone, from toddlers to totterers. There are family nights, for example, at the swimming pools so that children and parents can share in the swimming and water safety programs.

There are suppers and square dances and picnics and concerts. Special adult activities differ slightly from neighborhood to neighborhood. But generally they include baseball, Softball and outdoor basketball leagues for men; softball and tennis tournaments for women, and such quieter games as horseshoes, boccie, checkers and cards for senior citizens. In addition, there are areas set aside ly HUGH SCOTT NINE years and $18,000,000 ago Philadelphia's playgrounds attracted little attention. Fewer in number, often shabby, and with a dull similarity of equipment, they were seen, but seldom heard of.

Now things are different. The city's recreational program has a magnetlike attraction for visitors. They come from. South Dakota, Siam and South Africa to view the 338 different play facilities, 90 of which are either new or redeveloped within the past nine years. And they collectively call Philadelphia's recreation program one of the most impressive in the world.

One big reason for the difference apart from the $18,000,000 is imagination, and much, of this came from Recreation Commissioner Robert W. Crawford. With a fine background of recreational experience, Crawford knew, for example, that just as fish MORE PICTURES ON NEXT PAGE 9 THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER MAGAZINE. MAY II. IMI.

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