Category Archives: Parks Department

Parks Stewardship Conference – June 6

Attention Cianfrani Park supporters! Check out this event from Parks & Rec:

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy will host a Parks Stewardship Conference  on Saturday, June 6 from 8:30am – 1:30pm at the McNeil Science and Technology Center of the University of the Sciences, 45th St. at Woodland Avenue in Philadelphia.

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Partnerships for Success.’

We will offer a variety of workshops to help you and your Friends group think about how to engage with local partners to better serve your parks. We are eager to come together with our community partners to bring focus to specific aspects of stewardship and to offer organizational tools to help make your work easier.
After breakfast, we will start the day with a visual look back at Love Your Park Week and a panel discussion on Special Events.

After the morning session, the presentations you will be able to choose from include:
– How to Recruit and Keep Volunteers
– Fundraising for Success
– Programming Your Park for Children
– Park Politics 101
* Optional walking tour of Woodlands Cemetery after lunch at 1:30pm
The McNeil Science Center is a state of the art facility and we will even utilize their computer labs to offer hands-on technical guidance. Breakfast and lunch will be served, and ample free parking is available on site.

The site is easily accessed by the 11 and 36 SEPTA trolley lines. We hope you will join us! Each Friends group may send up to three representatives.

Please RSVP to Meghan Geiser at Philadelphia Parks and Recreation by Wednesday, June 3 by emailing or calling 215-683-3679.


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


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 The next meeting of the Friends of Cianfrani Park will be held June 3rd. 

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

A message from Friends of Cianfrani Park

The “old” Friends of Cianfrani Park are pleased to welcome so many “new” Friends to the group, many of whom joined at the beautiful October Fall Festival event we organized.

We need as many friends as we can get because this park, like all small parks in Philadelphia, is dependent on volunteer effort. At various times, you will find people planting, pruning, and cleaning in the park. These people are not City employees. They are neighborhood volunteers and they will welcome your contribution to the effort, no matter how small.

We typically hold meetings at 7 pm in Palumbo Recreation Center (10th & Fitzwater) on the first Tuesday of every month and look forward to your joining us.

In the meantime, you may have noticed an urgent challenge – the two overflowing trash cans in the park. Typically, within one day of emptying, these cans are full and 90% of what they are full of is bags of our dogs’ droppings. The City provided a worker for a few summer weeks, during which the situation was tolerable. That service is long gone. For the rest of the year, if we want the park to be a pleasant place for all users, rather than an eye- and nose-sore, it is up to those of us who walk our dogs in the park or deposit their droppings in those cans to find a solution.

Options include:

  • Dog owners establish a schedule and take turns emptying the cans daily
  • Dog owners carry our dogs’ droppings to our own homes (that’s what many of us do now because we were told that it was the law)
  • Dog owners organize ourselves to contribute money to pay someone to empty the cans daily and to monitor that person
  • We remove the cans from the park

If you are interested in leading or participating in the dog owner effort, please reply to this email (

Reminder: Cianfrani Park Meeting Dec. 1 at Palumbo Fieldhouse

There will be a general Cianfrani Park meeting December 1 at 7 p.m. at the Palumbo Park Fieldhouse. On the agenda is:

1. A short review of the festival.

2. Presentation of the overall plan that we came up with this summer for the GreenPlan application by Lauren.

3. Updated needs assessment for the overall park plan.


New Parks and Recreation Dept. Meetings

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis wants to exchange ideas for the
newly merging Parks and Recreation Department.

Whether you are a parent, Kelly Drive runner, hiker, basketball player, sports enthusiast,
youth coach, young athlete, community leader, performing arts participant or someone who
simply enjoys sitting in the park – the Parks and Recreation Department wants to hear from you!

The Department is hosting a series of meetings for the public:

7:00 PM Horticultural Center, N. Horticultural Drive & Montgomery Drive, 19131

7:00 PM Christy Recreation Center, 56th and Christian Street, 19143

7:00 PM Columbus Square, 12th and Wharton, 19147

7:00 PM Simons Recreation Center, 7200 Woolston Ave, 19138

7:00 PM Northeast Older Adult Center, 8100 Bustleton Avenue, 19152

5:00 PM One Parkway Building 18th Floor, 1515 Arch Street, 19102

7:00 PM Mander Playground, 33rd and Diamond, 19121

7:00 PM Cohocksink Recreation Center, Cedar and Cambria, 19134

Notice to Users of Cianfrani Park

Times are tough. Our park is important. We need to all pitch in to keep it looking good.

In much more elegant prose, Rosemary explains:

“We are about to enjoy another summer season in Cianfrani Park.   Our third annual “Friday Concerts in June” series will soon resume. The weather is getting warmer and everyone is looking forward to the pleasure of more time in the park.

For the past few years, The Department of Recreation has provided a “seasonal maintenance attendant,” someone whose daily responsibility it was to pick up the park trash, water the plants and trees, and bag the trash. Due to budget cuts, we will have help only on Mondays and Fridays and only for cleaning up and bagging the trash.  Other than that, we will have to rely on ourselves to keep our park clean and attractive.  We will be posting a list of tasks, so that all of us who use and enjoy the park can volunteer for specific and limited jobs to contribute to making our park a place where we all want to spend time.

In addition, the Citizen’s Alliance, which had been providing us with a second trash pickup on Mondays for the last year, is no longer in business. We have been granted a second pick up for the summer season by the Department of Recreation.  Pick up days for the park will be Thursday and Saturday. We are lucky to get this, but it will mean that from Saturday through Thursday the amount of bagged trash in our busy park will accumulate and cause and unsightly and smelly situation on Eighth Street.

We hope that everyone will take this into consideration and take home the trash that you bring to the park if at all possible. Also, be diligent in watching for people who put their household trash, on the corner or in the cans, therefore adding to the problem. This is against the law and these people can and will be fined.  (Call 215-685-4275 or 215-686-5560 to report it.) If everyone cooperates in taking home their own trash, we can have a park that is clean and sanitary.

We will be having park clean up days monthly, but there are things that must be done on a daily or weekly basis. We will try to divide the jobs up, so that all are small and manageable. If each of us does our part, we can have a park that we are proud of.”