What’s New?

What’s New?

Membership Meeting of April 13, 2004

Amazingly, 35 people braced the dreary rain of April 13th to attend the spring Membership Meeting at Rosenberger Hall in the South Park.

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee, created at the spring 2003 membership meeting, presented a “map” or comprehensive guide to the different stakeholders or user groups that frequent the park, with contact persons whenever possible. This committee was set up to study the park’s different user groups and explore ways to make sure they are included in Friends of Clark Park as well as in park planning. FOCP President Tony West summed up its accomplishments thus far: All user groups were contacted, although some groups are unorganized and hard to reach in an orderly fashion. As this map nears completion, specific outreach missions become possible. Top priority outreach mission is to basketball players, because there is a possibility that the Recreation Department will be making improvements to the basketball court.

For the members present, Ann DeForest ran an interactive workshop to introduce the idea of “user groups.” Using charts, maps and crayons, she showed how people experience the park in different and complex ways that both separate them from other people and create links to still others. The same person can belong to many different user groups, sharing different experiences with different sets of neighbors. Most popular activity in the park among the crowd that night — the Farmer’s Market!

Dog Committee

Dog Committee Chairman Jonathan Snyder and Linda Amsterdam delivered the group’s first interim report. This committee was formed after the winter meeting to explore solutions to complaints about unleashed dogs in the park. The committee has summed up seven alternatives: (1) Fenced Dog Run; (2) Separate the Bowl from the Playground Area; (3) Create a Linear Barrier between the Bowl and the Tot Lot; (4) Fence the Playground; (5) Status Quo, but Add Education and Self-Policing; (6) Allow Dogs Only on Leash, Enforcing the City Ordinance; (7) Allow Dogs Off Leash During Certain Hours of the Day.

The committee is seeking public input to its full report, which is available for download here. For information, contact chair Jonathan Snyder.


How has the renewal plan and the Farmers’ Market helped Clark Park? APenn student’s paper explains.

Tree Report

Tree Report

Update: Park Entrance Flowers

During our latest Volunteer Day, Andy Cole snapped this picture of the flowers Chris Leswing planted during the 2003 tree planting.

Pruning pays off

Our hard-working core corps of volunteers spent a bunch of Saturdays pruning dead, crossing and descending branches. The results? More light reaches the ground and sightlines have improved throughout the park.

Much appreciation to Mark Jenson, Joe Shapiro, Chris Leswing; board members Ann Dixon and Andy Cole; the UCD’s John Fenton, Kaz, and others who helped prune & mulch.

This winter, the Fairmount Park Commission removed damaged street trees along Chester Ave, 45th and 43rd streets. They plan on grinding the stumps too! It’s sad to lose trees, but they were in bad shape and the removals now create planting opportunities.

Pruning was done for both the health of trees and of humans. Along the way, the team identified trees in need of an arborist’s attention. If you want to help plant or prune, contact Chris Leswing.

Storms strike park, volunteers strike back

A fierce October windstorm toppled a large, mature plane tree near the new tot lot, and it also split a pear tree alongside Chester Avenue (now removed) and badly battered limbs of a nearby Norway maple. In June, lightning struck one of the park’s magnificent oaks; the tree probably will die.

That’s why we plant.

Volunteers from FOCP and the South Asia Society and Muslim Students Association planted five trees in August: a yellowwood, a tulip poplar, a pin oak and two tree lilacs. Thanks to Philadelphia Green for a $1,500 grant covering cost of the trees and consultation with a professional arborist.

2001 Clark Park Tree Report

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania did an extensive survey of Clark Park’s trees during summer 2001.

Results: Over 75% of the park’s trees are in good health (expected to live 15+ years). The report documented 41 different species of trees in the park, although 55% are of just one species: London plane (often called sycamore). This concentration leaves the park vulnerable to major losses if a disease struck the London planes, and FOCP is following the report’s recommendation to diversify future plantings. The $8,500 survey was funded by the University City District.

Tree Funds

Contributions to Friends of Clark Park provide a great way to celebrate a wedding or commitment ceremony, to welcomve the birth of a new baby, or to commemorate the life of a loved one.

Contribute to our “Commemorative Tree Program” to plant a tree in someone’s honor. Or, make a donation to the FOCP “Tree Endowment Fund,” established to grow and fund tree care and planting in the years ahead.

Make your check payable to “Friends of Clark Park” and be sure to write “Tree Endowment” or “Commemorative Tree” on the memo line.

Youth Soccer

Youth Soccer

Clark Park Youth Soccer League (CPYSL), a program of Friends of Clark Park, provides soccer instruction and intramural games for children ages 5-11 on Saturdays each spring and fall at Clark Park.  CPYSL emphasizes enjoying the game of soccer while learning soccer skills.  Every child plays every week.

CPYSL offers two 9-week seasons. Players ages 5 through 8 take the field from 10:30 am until 12 noon;  ages 9 through 11 from noon until 1:30 pm. Each 90-minute session includes both skills training and a game.

All CPYSL coaches are volunteers and most have completed a coach-training program through the Eastern Pa. Youth Soccer Association, of which CPYSL is a member.  Parents and other adults are invited to join CPYSL as a coach or assistant. Knowledge of soccer is helpful, but it is not required. Each year we must turn away children because there are not enough volunteer coaches. If you’re interested in coaching, call now and leave a message at 215-552-8186.

CPYSL’s teams fill up quickly, so observe the registration dates and return completed forms with payment promptly.
New players: Registration begins Sept. 1 for the fall season and March 1 for spring season. Call our voicemail (215-552-8186) starting Sept. 1 or March 1 and leave your name, address, etc., and we’ll send registration forms and instructions.
Returning players: Registration forms will be mailed to players from previous spring & fall sessions. Sorry, we cannot take registration by e-mail.

The fee for one child is $20, plus FOCP membership (if not already a paid-up member of FOCP) of $10, for a total cost of $30. For the second child from the same household, add $10 fee and $5 additional FOCP dues, for a total cost of $45.  The fee includes a league T-shirt. Partial scholarships are available for those in need, for up to one-half the total of fees and dues.



We have volunteers working on a variety of maintenance efforts, including shed repairs, lights inventory, drainage problems, etc. We’re looking for a few more managers to tackle the following projects: sidewalk inventory; debris/stump removal; tree guard maintenance & relocation; chess tables; monitor for playground equipment problems. If you can help, email Andy Cole or call him at 215.573.1274.

Recent Good Deeds

April 17 was our day for installing Belgian Block around the Farmer’s Market area. Andy Cole lead a team of volunteers from the Vineyard Community Church, St. Gabriel’s School in Audubon, and the Clark Park Music and Arts Festival.

The biggest job was installing about 12×4 feet of Belgian Blocks along 43rd street at Baltimore.

From Vineyard Community Church, West Philadelphia Kinship, we had Jennifer Coulter, Marya Van Voorthuijsen, Joseph Pointdujour, Mike Camileri, John and Caitlin Littleton, Brad and Becca Zinn, Jay and Betty Lanford, Elly Nees, and Jen and Cameron Jones.

From St. Gabriels School, Audubon Pennsylvania, we had Justin Minisu and Des McGruder (staff), with students Corey McIver, Darnell Godfrey, Michael Marigold, John Bustamante and Josh Medina.

And from the Clark Park Music and Arts Festival, Cheshire Agusta.

Mike Marigold of St. Gabriels School, climbed up and took down the lights from the ‘caroling’ tree in Park B. And the volunteers weeded and put in three substantial mulch rings, based on advice from Chris Leswing.

As Andy Cole reports, “We couldn’t have done a project of this size without the FOCP maintenance brain trust, Mark Jenson and Emily, Joe Shapiro, Mande Benner, Molly Roth, Mike Hardy, Steve McCoubrey and Janet Lewis, who among them, handled food, tools, materials, and advice/expertise in laying the Belgian Blocks.

“Of course, every project I’ve done at Clark Park over the last few years
has been helped a great deal by John Fenton and his staff at the UCD.
They took care of a lot of the last minute stuff that we needed such as
gloves, tools, wheelbarrows, a water connector, and John’s inexhaustible

“I’d also like to thank a new FOCP/Clark Park supporter, Roger Harman of
Abbraccio’s, who donated a portion of the excellent breakfasts and box
lunches that we had for the volunteers.”

Have a look at our Tree Report page for another nifty photo from Andy.

Less Recent, but Equally Good, Deeds

Future generations will thank 100 members of the South Asia Society and Muslim Students Association for fantastic work in October planting five trees and 500 daffodils on the International Gandhi Day of Service.

Visibility has improved with the pruning efforts of Chris Leswing and Andy Cole. They also did a great job of mulching the new entrance plantings at 45th & Chester.

Lew Mellman’s brush with greatness occurred recently when he quickly painted over graffiti on the newly-primed maintenance shed. What a great neighbor!

Student power from USP and FOCP volunteers made some fantastic improvements at the Aug. 23 work day. Students scraped and primed the maintenance shed and hauled mulch to protect dozens of trees. Others gathered trash and dug up remnants of an old iron fence that had been tripping joggers by the 45th Street sidewalk.

If you spot a neighbor helping in park, please let us know. Send an e-mail or call 215-552-8186 and we’ll try to make sure our “friends” get recognized.…