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City breaks ground on first Rebuild project

The Parkside project will see two new fields built at the open space

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The ambitious city-wide Rebuild program made a serious step forward Thursday with its first groundbreaking at Parkside Fields.

The spot, which sits on Parkside Avenue, just to the north of West Philly is just the first out of an anticipated 64 spaces around the city that Kenney hopes to revitalize with the program. Rebuild aims to invest $500 million garnered by the Philly’s controversial soda tax into improving playgrounds, parks, libraries, and recreation centers across the city.

“For too long we have under-resourced our public spaces,” Kenney said in a statement about the project Thursday. “This is an investment in our residents and the future of this community.”

With the Parkside project, officials plan to bring two new athletic fields, one of which will be a practice field, and the other a field for soccer and football games.

“The project is expected to meet Rebuild’s goals for participation of minority-owned businesses and exceed the goals for participation of woman-owned businesses,” the city said in a statement.

The program has been in the works for years, but hit a snag in 2016 when its major source of funding, the city tax on sweetened beverages, was challenged in court by the beverage industry. A Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling this summer upheld the tax, meaning the Rebuild project could move forward.

Next up, the city plans to bring funding to Vare Recreation Center, Olney Recreation Center, Frank Glavin Memorial Playground, and Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center in early 2019.