Black clergy will push for recreation center redevelopment

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In Germantown, black Philadelphia clergymen stood outside the Waterview Center demanding change and action to modernize the dilapidated facility. Waterview is not currently on the reconstruction list of developments that will be renovated and rebuilt.

Rebuild has two operating procedures for renovations: the city works on some projects, and other upgrades are done through nonprofit organizations. The nonprofits are working with the centers to develop blueprints and a plan to rebuild an updated, safe community space.

Beech Interplex Inc. was commissioned to work with the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center to develop a plan to renovate the center.

Reverend Clarerence Wright of Love Zion Baptist Church said the Cecil B. Moore Center is the heart of Philadelphia’s North Ward. He said the center was on the rebuilding list but had yet to see any redevelopment.

“Years ago, before the soft drink tax started, we were told this recreation center was #2 on the list,” Wright said. “Now if you look at where we are, if number 2 on the list hasn’t seen a single nail and hammer driven into a wall, what does that say for number 3 or the 4, the n°50 or the 67?”

Philadelphia’s black clergy have said they want safe havens for young people in the city of Philadelphia. The city is experiencing an epidemic of gun violence that has resulted in near-record casualties in non-fatal and fatal incidents. The black clergy leader said recreation centers should offer playgrounds, programs and guidance to keep children safe and off the streets.

Kira Strong, executive director of Rebuild Infrastructure, said she wanted to help address the black clergy group’s concerns about the violence plaguing the city.

“You know, we certainly understand their concern about gun violence and making sure the city has the resources it needs,” Strong said. “We would certainly love to have a direct conversation with them as well. I think, you know, we’re on the same team to make sure that we as a city provide really good, high-quality resources for kids and families in the city. And that’s what it’s all about.

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