Category Archives: News

A Short History of Grass in Cianfrani Park and Why We Put Up the Caution Tape

CianfraniLawn

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 cianfranipark@gmail.com. The next meeting of the Friends of Cianfrani Park will be held June 3rd. 

March 4 Meeting

Agenda for Friends of Cianfrani Park March 4 meeting at 7 p.m. at Palumbo Recreation Center.

We are pleased that Erin Engelstad from the Fairmount Park Conservancy will be attending our meeting. The Conservancy is a great resource for all city parks. They provided our new bulletin board and have helped fund the winter Holiday Lighting event.

Statue
Review of any comments regarding the statue project. Review the statue presentation and submit comments here.

Workdays
Discuss projects for the Mayors Cleanup on April 5th and Love Your Park Service Day on May 10th.
If conditions permit, we may call for an informal “raking party” soon to remove leaves and pods from the taped off lawn areas. The point of the protection is to give the lawn a rest from constant foot traffic over the winter.
We will be discussing an idea to keep some portion of the grass area dog free so there is a clean and attractive portion of the park for human use this spring and summer.

Grants
There is an opportunity to apply for Americorps volunteers to do some work in the park. This may be a chance to repaint all of our decorative iron fencing, which needs attention.
We need people to guide the volunteers to do the job properly. Can anyone help with this?

Activities
There will be a short report on our discussions with other local parks about coordinating our concerts and other events.
We are still looking for additional events for Cianfrani Park. All ideas are welcome.

Makemusicphilly.org is the local website for a worldwide event that occurs at the Solstice, June 21st. They want to arrange free musical events all day long all over the city, so they are looking for people with musical talent to volunteer. Cianfrani Park will agree to be a venue!

April Meeting
Please note that the April meeting will take place in the park on Saturday the 5th during the clean up, and not at Palumbo on the first Tuesday as we usually do.

Event Ideas

Do you have an idea for an event in Cianfrani Park?

We expect our concert series to continue this summer, but there are opportunities for fresh ideas for other events.
Would you like to see more events in the park this year in addition to our Friday Concerts in June series?

  • Outdoor movies?
  • Easter Egg Hunt?
  • Flea Market?
  • Arts and Crafts Fair?Gardening Expo?
  • Board game challenge?

We welcome neighborhood input and participation!!

Email us: cianfranipark@gmail.com

Friends of Cianfrani Park is a Registered Volunteer Community Group of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Stewardship Program. Past events have included:

  • The Fridays in June Concert Series
  • Spring and Fall Festivals, (live music, flea market, raffle, kids’ games, food.)
  • Movie nights (we have the screen & equipment!)
  • Holiday Lighting Celebrations

EventGrant_CianfraniPark_2014

Important Notice: Spraying in the Park

Over the last several years, many of us have been fretting about the condition of the lawn at Cianfrani Park. It seems like it either has large spots of brown or the grass is so high it is up to your knees. Last year we were very proud to accept the first prize in the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s City Garden Contest. The gardens are a result of very hard work on the part of our dedicated volunteer neighbors. However, the grass has been continued to be problematic.

Last summer, after our continued complaints to the city about the mowing situation, we were paid a surprise visit by a landscape technician from the newly consolidated Department of Parks and Recreation. With the consolidation of Fairmount Park and the Philadelphia Department of Recreation, we have benefitted by receiving some new services, including people who care about having parks with nice lawns. After taking a sample and sending it for analysis, it seems that he discovered the cause of our lawn problems. We have a very difficult weed called Goose Grass which has overtaken the good grass and seems to grow at a rate of up to an inch a day. The city’s biweekly mowing schedule is not going to handle that kind of growth.

To remedy this situation the city is going to come in to spray the lawn to eliminate the Goose Grass before it has a chance to start growing this year. The spray is not a poison, but a “pre emergent treatment” that prevents weed seeds from sprouting and multiplying. It will not kill anything that is already growing. Following the spraying we will be roping off all of the lawns for a week or so and strongly suggest that you keep children and dogs off of the lawns. The protection for a week is only to allow the treatment to work efficiently and undisturbed. We have been told it should not be harmful to pets or people. Signs will be posted.

The second stage of this recovery process will occur in the fall which is the best time to plant new grass. We hope to have a contractor come in at that time to aerate the entire lawn to loosen the compacted dirt so that new seed may go in. It will take the winter for it to establish roots and hopefully next summer we will have the beautiful lawn we have always wanted.

We ask for your patience as we go through this process. We hope you will be happy with the results.

-Friends of Cianfrani Park

Spring Cleanup April 13

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The 6th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup will be held on Saturday, April 13th.

We will be cleaning the perimeter of the park, cleaning a lot across from the park and erecting a new shed to store our tools, potting up plants to be donated to other parks.

We’re #1!

That’s right.

Cianfrani Park received First Prize in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society 2012 City Gardens Contest. Thanks to all of the awesome volunteers.
Special thanks Karen Clancy and Chris DiSilvis for all their work on the gardens, and to Rosemary Capirchio, Joanne Hoffman, Lee Price, Jason Rubin, Rachel Thurston and Matt Varrato for keeping the gardens alive and watered this summer.

Cianfrani Park Update

Dear Neighbors,

Over the last couple of months you may have noticed some welcome changes in Cianfrani Park.

Last April we received a grant from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to provide plants and tools for renovating our gardens. In a happy coincidence, several very capable gardening volunteers have come forward to offer their time and talent to help our park become one of the most beautiful in the city.

In October, volunteers removed all of the lackluster shrubs in the side planters. On November 4th we planted 36 new shrubs and two flowering trees. Over 2000 bulbs were planted to provide a dazzling display for next spring. Over the three work weekends there were a total of 76 people who put in an average of four hours each. This is a great achievement.

We all owe special thanks to neighbors Karen Clancy and Christopher DeSilvis for their leadership, enthusiasm and hard work for making all this happen. We are also grateful to neighbor Warren Isom for building a new brick base under our tilting urn in the round planter by 8th Street and for his tulip planting expertise.

Let’s keep the momentum going!

All of this fresh energy is wonderful for our park and our community. We urge all of you who use and enjoy Cianfrani Park to think about how you can contribute to its nurture and improvement. We can always use gardening help, but there are many ways to be involved. (If you have ideas about creative fundraising projects, please raise your hand!)

So much of modern life is out of our control, but working together we can certainly make our park cleaner, greener and safer for all. Other benefits include meeting some very nice neighbors. The food isn’t bad, either!

In January we will discuss next year’s plans for projects and events at our monthly meeting to be held at Palumbo Recreation Center, 7pm, on the first Tuesday of the month.

Enjoy the “Pyramid of Light” decoration in the park.

Dream of Spring and the beauty to come.

Happy Holidays to All!

The Friends of Cianfrani Park