“Where’s the Batter?”
by Alexis Franklin / Coordinator Friends of McMichael Park (1990-2020)
As The Friends of McMichael Park celebrate 30 years of volunteering, we look ahead to additional volunteer participation in our neighborhood during the 2020 calendar year and beyond.
Maintaining the Park has been a labor of love for The FOMP community members, and our efforts over 30 years at rehabilitating and maintaining a pristine green park in Philadelphia have obviously brought McMichael Park to the attention of all levels of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the greater City of Philadelphia.
Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell and Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. are now completely committed to building a playground in the park, an endeavor that would never have been initiated had McMichael Park not been elevated to the status and outstanding condition it has achieved. All solely and diligently thanks to The FOMP group.
McMichael Park exists because of the volunteer commitments of the members in The FOMP group. It has been restored to its original design and has become a respite from city strife and the core and epicenter of neighborhood activities. Noticeably absent from volunteer activities are those individuals who support a playground. The FOMP has always and regularly promoted open meetings, service days, theater, children’s events and clean-up activities. Everyone in the neighborhood is invited to participate.
The volunteer events hosted by The FOMP are open to all, and are always prominently advertised as such. The FOMP has made multiple attempts to include playground supporters in volunteer events, but the loose assemblage of individuals have not participated, or moved away. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation has been unable to provide a local point of contact for this group.
This is very disconcerting.
It not only speaks volumes to the commitment level of these neighbors, but also because Commissioner Ott Lovell in her presentation at a recent neighborhood East Falls Community Council meeting in January stated: “You must be committed 100 percent. So ‘batter up’ and participate.”
Where is the batter?
As much as The FOMP has sought to include playground supporters in volunteer activities, this group has consistently and repeatedly failed to show up to help. “Where is the batter?” is an oxymoron for this group.
They are not even in the ballpark.
The FOMP has hosted between five to seven volunteer events on an annual basis. These include the popular Lovelights — the annual fundraiser now in its 21st year. An event that sees The FOMP group light the Anniversary Tree in a spectacular array of red lights for Valentine’s Day. There are multiple park cleanups, bench paintings, summer story readings for children, the annual Shakespeare in the Park theater performance, pet adoptions, and summer movie nights.
These events take time, talent, energy and money.
The FOMP estimates that in its 30 year history it has invested the equivalent of $1.5 million USD in time, talent and energy; volunteer work in lieu of compensation, like kind contributions of sweat and creativity. In addition, The FOMP members have donated thousands of dollars consistently and without reservation to the upkeep of the park.
The FOMP has a 30-year history of not only “stepping up to the plate,” but “knocking it out of the park” with our volunteer events, every time at bat. The Commissioner was not referring to the existing Friends of McMichael Park!
The East Falls Community Council measures support for the playground by the clapping of hands at their meetings. This is not a popularity contest. Who from that group is stepping up to the plate? Who is in the dugout?
The FOMP group, most recently stepped up to the plate again for the upcoming Lovelights celebration on February 14, 2020 (Valentine’s Day) and they are planning Love Your Park Activities for May/June 2020.
Again, we look forward to your participation and invite you to get in the game.
Visit the Friends of McMichael Park page on Facebook to keep track all upcoming events in McMichael Park: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfMcmichaelPark/
As part of our Thirty year celebration: please connect with our page highlighting our individuals with reflections from our humble beginnings. #FOMP30 https://mcmichaelparkturtlefriends.com/
Save the Date! Love Your Park Week
May 9 – 17, 2020
|Mark your calendars as events are starting in McMichael Park during this year’s Love Your Park Week! Need some inspiration? Check out past events here that were held in McMichael Park and other parks. Stay tune for more information to follow in the coming month. |
Registration for Park Friends will open on March 2nd.
Please join in for the next PFN meeting on March 11th from 5:30-7:30pm at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, 100 N. Horticultural Dr (click here for map). As always, up to three members of your Friends Group are invited to attend! If interested in attending…Contact Alexis Franklin: Lexy3904@gmail.com
We will be serving dinner at 5:30 and start the meeting promptly at 6:00, covering several important topics, including:Love Your Park Week | May 9 – 17!PFN Registration 2020 RecapPreview of new Love Your Park WebsitePark Friends Activity Report raffle*We will provide a free shuttle to the Horticulture Center, leaving from 1515 Arch Street at 5:15pm and returning to the same location afterwards.
Wednesday, March 11th
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Fairmount Park Horticulture Center
100 N. Horticultural Dr
Philadelphia, PA 19131