We wouldn't go so far as to call it a victory lap - but let's acknowledge some of the serious progress that has been made on the parks in 10 years - possibly with the help of the cheerleading of the DN Editorial Board (including here at Earth to Philly), but also, definitely with the help of the Philadelphia public. Here's the opening:
A FEW MORE ACRES, a lot less neglect.
Ten years after this newspaper's editorial series "Acres of Neglect" began a multiyear focus on the poor conditions, bizarre governance structure and unrealized potential of the city's parks, we are pleased to report significant change - in fact, a transformation.
In 2011, Philadelphia parks - at 10,500 acres, one of the largest urban park systems in the world - no longer are the dumping ground we found in 2001, when they were littered with thousands of old tires and hundreds of abandoned cars and assorted appliances, not to mention building materials and hazardous waste.
From parks that lacked basic amenities like open restrooms - but didn't lack excuses for the situation - the city's parks now offer substantial relief for visitors. In the past 10 years, the parks have added at least 31 new and improved attractions, including several cafes and museums.
In 2001, Philadelphia was isolated from a then-nascent national movement to recognize the importance of public space in the lives of cities. In 2011, it has become a leader in that movement.
And here's the kicker: the transformation has been accomplished with fewer staff and less taxpayer money.
Read the whole thing here.