Message for McMichael

Did Ridge Avenue just declare all-out war on a playground?

Neighbors show support for a playspace at McMichael Park (July 2017) 

Heads up, McMichael Playspace peeps  — the following letter has been distributed to local & City leadership and media. For the backstory, please see our last article where Phila Parks & Rec commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell addressed the community in January 2020

(Click to view original copy).

March 1, 2020

The owners, managers, tenants, residents, and brokers, all of whom are stakeholders in properties on Ridge Avenue, 19129, object to the proposed playground in McMichael Park:

  1. Landlords have an enormous financial investment in the commercial corridor, and any bifurcation of the neighborhood and customer base negatively affects our success;
  2. Accordingly, Inn Yard Park has an excellent playground, green space, and basketball courts and is less than 1 mile from the target demographic. This space deserves and must be supported in conjunction with the business corridor as it is accretive to the success of our tenants;
  3. Retailers, both existing and potential, will be negatively impacted with the lack and loss footfalls. For example, a stroller mom, or family with toddlers, will be less inclined to leverage a visit to the Inn Yard Park with a purchase at a coffee shop, pizza restaurant, or basic day-to-day purchase;
  4. Any decrease in sales affects rents and values and importantly the ability to effectively influence future retailers;
  5. We support the investment in schools and existing facilities, i.e., Inn Yard Park and Thomas Mifflin Elementary School;
  6. McDevitt is a fully operational PPA facility and to suggest that it and Inn Yard are too far away is simply ludicrous in today’s challenged economic and sustainability environment;
  7. We object, as the major economic risk takers and investors in the community, to any investment to placate a privileged minority who has proven to be transient;
  8. Given the vision statement of the Mayor (equity and investment in challenged neighborhoods) and the green initiative of PPA, an investment in McMichael Park is contrary, illogical, and contrary to both the Mayor’s and PPA’s stated goals and objectives;
  9. As stakeholders of the Ridge Avenue Commercial Corridor, we fail to see the purpose and adamant determination of the Community Council to undermine our success.

It must be clearly understood that besides our objection to the McMichael Park playground, we will make every effort to use all means, economic, political, and legal, to stop it.

We implore the Mayor, District Council person, and PPR to cease and desist in McMichael Park and redirect these resources to Inn Yard Park and Thomas Mifflin Elementary School.

(Unsigned, no return address on the envelope)


Honorable James Kenney, Mayor, City of Philadelphia
Commissioner Katherine Ott-Lovell, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Nancy O’Donnell, PPR
Maura McCarthy, PhD, Fairmount Park Conservancy
Alex Doty, Philadelphia Parks Alliance
Councilman Curtis Jones, 4th Councilmanic District
Joshua Cohen, Chief of Staff, Councilman Jones’ Office
Kendra Brooks, At-Large
Allan Domb, At-Large
Derek Green, At-Large
Katherine Gilmore Richardson, At-Large
Helen Gym, At-Large
David Oh, At-Large
Isaiah Thomas, At-Large
Rosita Youngblood, 198th Legislative District
Vincent Hughes, 7th Senatorial District
Honorable Dwight Evans, 3rd Congressional District
Honorable Edward G. Rendell
East Falls Local
Friends of Inn Yard Park
Friends of McMichael Park
Hal Commons, Esq.
East Falls Development Corporation Board of Directors
Officers of the East Falls Community Council
East Falls Now
S&T Bank
Slices Pizza
ANL Express
Mabel Marie Fashion
ThunderMug Cafe
Sweet Dreams & FairyTale Daycare
East Falls Nailery
Allstate Insurance
Major Wing Lee
LeBus East Falls
Famous 4th Street Cookie Company
East Falls Eye Associates
Alice Alexander
Frequency Tattoo*
East Falls Beverage
East Falls Cleaners
Shan Chaun
Salon C. Kelly Infinite Hair Care

*name removed at the request of business owner, see below 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Editorials normally need to be signed to be published. However, we think this letter is a great example of the sort of under-handed, exclusionary tactics/threats/string-pulling/etc we (unfortunately) see again & again in local “politics.” We’re sharing this letter in a spirit of transparency. Please follow the links for articles, editorials, meeting recaps and video footage documenting years of neighborhood debate and advocacy (and for all the clues you need to likely identify the sender).

Agree? Disagree? Comment below or jump into the discussion on East Falls Rants


    • Thank you for setting the record straight! We’re happy to update the post. One clarification though, if we may: I believe the businesses/organizations listed in the mysterious letter are merely parties to whom copies of the letter were distributed. Obviously, you don’t need consent to cc something but agree that by listing so many names the author seems to insinuate they were acting with the community’s support. Glad you pushed back on this. It’d be great to cross off more business names!

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