KEEPING IT REAL: “It’s a Shame What People Do Here”

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.

THANKS, TOO, to Merrick Street newcomer (and East Falls Forward volunteer) Morgan Bound for passing along word to his friend in the Parks Dept, who then sprung into action for East Falls!

Local mom Stacy Joyce suggested we feature more than just pretty pictures and happy stories at East Falls  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.

Gypsy Lane Condos, East Falls Phila

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 or call 215-346-6157 for volunteer opportunities.






  1. The people in that part of East Falls don’t care about their neighborhood,its been a pigpen forever,so why should we care? Tell the neighbors to clean it up!!

    • What amazed us is how quickly Stacy and other neighbors got the word out about this problem. According to them, the park was in good condition until a week or so ago when all the trash seemed to appear at once. Thanks to them for speaking up!

      Here’s to squeaky wheels! Check this out email response this morning from Parks and Rec to a request from our neighbor on Merrick to address the problems:

      Hi Morgan:

      Thank for taking the time to talk to me about East Falls Forward and some of the work your RCO would like to do in Inn Yard Park. I have cc’d Patty and Meghan from our Stewardship Team, and they can better assist you in your efforts in East Falls.

      I have submitted information regarding the broken gate to the Operations division.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me.


    • I’m out of town until Monday. I’ll be there on Monday at 4:30ish with trash bags and gloves it anybody cares to join me. It’ll take less effort to just get it done ourselves than to appeal to some “authority” who won’t do jack shit anyway.

  2. THANK YOU for covering this. That gate has been bothering me for weeks. I keep meaning to report it to the city, but whenever I’m at the park with my son, I really need to focus on him – he’s much too fast to leave unobserved for any length of time!

    In a similar vein, I came home last night to find that people moving out of the house across the street had abandoned piles of furniture, multiple mattresses, and bags of trash covering the entire front yard and sidewalk in front of the house. The pile was about 6 feet tall, and truly atrocious. I have to say that so far, both the city and the property manager have been responsive. I’m holding out hope the mess is cleaned up by the time I get home tonight.

    The point? Many of these eyesore situations are in the midst of other well-kept properties or areas. Those in the immediate area suffer for the carelessness of those responsible. I don’t think it’s fair to say these situations are the result of “people in that part of the neighborhood.” Even if you only pass by these eyesores, it has a negative psychological impact and certainly doesn’t impress visitors to our neighborhood as a whole. You may not live on Ridge, but it is the gateway to our neighborhood. Personally, it’s a part of the neighborhood I frequent on foot, on bike, and in a car. It’s in all of our best interest to fight these messes and take charge when we are able.

  3. See? All you have to do it threaten to actually do something and somehow it just gets done… amazing!

    I hereby threaten to stop by tomorrow and fix the gate. 🙂

    • It seems to have worked…. I just walked down there with a pocket full of wrenches and found the gate already fixed! Apparently Nora has some pull with the parks department and was able to contact the right people to get this all done quickly.

  4. I am just seeing this story and all comments. Thanks to everyone for taking action! On a similar note, does anyone have ideas regarding what can be done about the absurd amount of broken glass in and around the park? I am willing to handle it but do not know where to start. How would I go about removing glass from grassy areas? I walk my dogs there and had to start taking alternate routes because my older gentleman (dog) had a piece of glass in his paw following our walk. I welcome any suggestions!

  5. On July 28, I sent this note to a colleague at Parks and Rec:

    There was a big party at the Inn Yard Park this weekend. It looked like a reunion or family party with about 70 people. In any case, all of the trash containers are overflowing. a big mess.

    Is there someone I can contact to ask that they be emptied?

    Thanks so much.

    Regards, Gina Snyder

    I got this answer the same day:


    Crew will clean up tomorrow.

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