Category Archives: News

Cianfrani Park Update! – May 2017

Dear Neighbors,

Join the Friends of Cianfrani Park, and help keep our trees healthy and our gardens blooming!

Thank you to all who come to our workdays and contribute to making Cianfrani one of the beauty spots in the city park system. The park is a place to use and enjoy. This is evident if you stop by to relax with a book, or walk your dog, or play with your children. It is also our responsibility to take care of it.

We are grateful to the City (especially to Councilman Squilla) for the recent investment in the infrastructure of our park. Their part of the bargain is complete except for some promised turf restoration. Now we must do our part to maintain our park to a standard we feel we deserve.

Our gardens are ambitious and our trees are large. Philadelphia allows Friends groups to contribute to special projects, such as tree work and gardens. We need to raise $6200 to hire professional help for some urgent projects that would be difficult or dangerous for volunteers to attempt.

Our partners in the City and the Fairmount Park Conservancy are aware of the depth of our commitment as a Friends group, and the strength of the support the community shows for Cianfrani Park.

These are our current priorities:

  • Major work is required on some of our largest trees, especially pruning and stabilizing the kid’s favorite “climbing tree”. Several of the big maples are damaged and need help. Other trees should be thinned to stay healthy. It would be good to do this before the end of June.
  • Various overgrown evergreen shrubs must be removed and/or relocated as soon as possible.
  • We have a proposal of $2600 for the tree work and $1600 to relocate various shrubs and perennials. The proposals are from reputable firms that have worked in the park before.
  • We will also need $2000 for additional plants and shrubs to finish our gardens.

What can you do to help?

  • Give money! One generous neighbor donated $200, and another has promised to match that gift. Please consider a donation of $50 or more. Any amount is gratefully accepted.

    Write a check to the Friends of Cianfrani Park and put it in the mail slot at 721 Pemberton St. Make a donation using the Paypal button on our website cianfranipark.com

    It would be ideal to have most of the funding in place before MAY 20

  • Unleash your inner entrepreneur: volunteer to serve on a fundraising committee!
    It could be fun. Our plants and trees would be happy, and we may even be able to afford extra concerts, movie nights or other events.

Join us for “Love Your Park” Service Day on May 13
We will move mulch and have lunch! Meet the Neighbors! Together we keep Cianfrani park beautiful.

Advertisements

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

Image

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.