UPDATE 8-3-15: The park seems to be back in shape! Gate’s fixed and trash is gone! Thanks Stacy for calling attention to the importance of a clean, safe Inn Yard Park for everyone.
Local mom Stacy Joyce suggested we feature more than just pretty pictures and happy stories at East Falls Local.com. We offer now her photos & comments on unfortunate developments at beloved neighborhood playground Inn Yard Park (along with links & contact info for anyone who’d like to help).
When “Stacy Joyce” (aka Mrs. Slices Pizza) posted to our Facebook page yesterday, we had to admit she had a point: why doesn’t East Falls Local’s camera focus on the “gritty” parts of our neighborhood, as well as the flowers & welcoming porches?
Hmmm. We certainly come across all kinds of interesting stuff on our twice-daily walks. We take all kinds of photos, but Stacy’s right — we only share the pretty ones.
True Story: we keep a folder called “We Can Do Better” where we save images that make us sad on our walks. We tell ourselves these are simply “Before” pics — that soon these problem spots will be as picture-pretty as the rest of East Falls. So we tuck them away, and hope for the best. A waiting game, if you will.
Easy for us to say, in our gated condo community on the edge of the Wissahickon forest. Neighbors on Ridge like Stacy can’t afford to be as patient. She’s got kids to occupy & keep healthy, and she depends on Inn Yard Park as an important local resource for play, socialization, and fresh air.
She and her active family have enjoyed the park very much in their time here, but lately trash pick-up has really lagged. “When a toddler complains it’s too dirty, you know it’s gotta be bad,” was how she put it.
Stacy and her toddler aren’t the only ones complaining, either. In the ten minutes we photographed the area today, we spoke with two unrelated adults who both independently of each other remarked that the playground has never looked so bad (those exact words, which seems telling).
Trash bins overflowed, wrappers and refuse collecting under benches and play equipment. We didn’t see any needles but in the grass & woodchips we saw baggies of all sizes, cigar wrappers, poopy diapers, strips of really thin metal wire (!), and lots of stank, funky trash buzzing with wasps & yellow jackets.
And that gate has been broken forever. Now, the snapped-off part is sharp & rusty, even. The way the gate hangs, it narrows the park entrance so many moms can’t get their strollers in, yet.
What a bummer! What to do?
The first and easiest step would be calling 311 — Philadelphia’s number for Municipal information, which is also a request line for city services like trash removal or damaged playground equipment. Calls are answered Monday thru Friday 8 am to 8 pm, and Saturday/holidays from 9 am to 5 pm.
Don’t expect an immediate solution, this is basically just a switchboard -slash- answering service, but your issue will be documented and you’ll get a tracking number for follow-up and stuff… probably. It’s a good first step, though.
The East Falls Community Council maintains a “Nuisance Number” list with direct extensions for neighborhood complaints ranging from rats (vector control) to gambling (vice squad!) to insect infestations (the Health Dept, perhaps surprisingly).
Also, consider reaching out to Friends of Inn Yard Park, a group of neighbors who garden, maintain the basketball courts, and (according to their website) assist with trash pick-up. They’re also hosting the family movie “Despicable Me” next month (Weds Aug 12th at 8pm) — hopefully the park will be back on track by then!
Thanks, Stacy, for speaking up for Inn Yard Park instead of looking the other way. Trash & broken gates may seem like petty grievances, but they greatly affect safe enjoyment and also tend to invite trouble.
IF YOU CAN LEND A HAND — Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-346-6157 for volunteer opportunities.