A message from the Friends of Cianfrani Park:
As Cianfrani Park becomes more popular the open areas have become worn and ragged.
Last summer turf specialists at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PP&R) explained to us that the dominant grass here was a form of fast growing quack grass, a sign that the park is under stress. You may have noticed that the spotty “grass” would be knee high within days of a mowing, causing the park to look unkempt most of the time.
The Friends of Cianfrani Park asked PP&R for help. They responded by spraying the park to kill the weeds (not a success), and by aerating the grassy areas and re seeding (Yes!). The aeration pulls plugs of dirt out to allow air and moisture in, letting the lawn breathe. It also benefits adjacent trees.
We experimented to see if protecting the aerated grass from foot traffic during the wet winter season would have any effect. The caution tape “fence” was respected by most. Today you can see the remarkable difference between the East and West sides of the park. It got us thinking that if nice grass was a possibility, wouldn’t it be great to have a “clean zone” that people (especially the smallest ones) could enjoy for picnics and play.
The second part of our experiment will be to post signs asking pet owners not to use the designated areas for toileting purposes. That is not to say that leashed pets are not welcome, just requesting they do not use these areas as a bathroom.
We have been talking informally to people at park clean ups, and the response to the clean zone idea is very positive. Some have been inspired to pull up the invasive weeds by hand to avoid using chemical herbicide. Others expressed interest showing movies in the park this summer if there was a clean and pleasant place for people to enjoy them. Several neighbors with lawn expertise have offered to donate services.
There is no intention to abandon other areas of the park. The Friends are eager to reach out to every park user to help develop a plan for rehabilitating all the grassy areas.
A small park like Cianfrani with many, many users will always be challenged to keep grass healthy and lush. Success depends on the good will and cooperation of all who use the park daily.
If there is interest, we will add the “Clean Zone” concept to the agenda for the June 3rd monthly meeting. Our partners at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, The Fairmount Parks Conservancy, and Councilman Mark Squilla’s office will also be invited.
Monthly meetings are held a t Palumbo Recreation Center at 7pm, unless otherwise noted via firstname.lastname@example.org. The next meeting of the Friends of Cianfrani Park will be held June 3rd.