FOR VICKI BURKS, an East Mount Airy resident for more than a half-century, the world centers on Cliveden Park, a sprawling, green gem in the center of her Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood.
"I've been involved with Friends of Cliveden Park, it seems like all my life," said Burks, whose mother was an original member of the park group.
Now, thanks to a $6,000 grant awarded to the park through the Fairmount Park Conservancy's Growing the Neighborhood program, the recreation spot at Chew Avenue and Johnson Street will get what Burks calls a "facelift." The money will go toward new signage for the park and, possibly, improvements that include fencing and benches.
"With this facelift, it's like a regeneration, I believe," Burks said. "[It's] jogging in people's minds that the park is alive."
Cliveden was one of seven parks throughout the city selected from 30 that applied for Growing the Neighborhood grants this year, said Kathryn Ott Lovell, executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. Another park in Northwest Philadelphia, Inn Yard Park on Ridge Avenue just above Midvale, also received a $3,000 grant to install new signs.
Alice Reiff, coordinator of the Friends of Inn Yard Park group in East Falls, was instrumental in Inn Yard getting the grant. Reiff said the group plans to have a historical marker placed at the park, which was originally an inn acquired by Fairmount Park in 1932.
"Any improvements we make to the park will draw more people to this area," Reiff said, adding that new playground equipment installed last December has attracted more families. "I can see it now, and it's just made a big difference."
Reiff, Burks and Robert Flood, who recently became president of Friends of Cliveden Park, all said they hope the improvements made to the parks with the grant money will help to get more people engaged in using them. Construction of the new signs is expected to start in the spring, they said.
"It'll be a really good thing," Burks said. "It's quite a large park to have sit right in your community and we're very proud of it."
Don't miss it: Cliveden Park's last Farmers' Market of the season will be held Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m.