New investment in Kensington
This past January, the City of Philadelphia announced that a portion of its first Opioid Settlement Funds would be invested in Kensington. The city marked money for Kensington parks, schools, and programs to keep people in their homes, like home repair and eviction prevention. It also pledged to follow a community-driven planning process—described at kensingtonplan.org—to guide how the funds will be spent.
An opportunity for Kensington neighbors
Six months later, the neighborhood has come to an exciting moment! Six Kensington parks have been chosen to receive Opioid Settlement funding. “Friends of the park” groups are inviting neighbors to attend one or more of these public meetings to help plan the changes people want to see at our local parks.
- Trenton & Auburn Playground and Park
Disney-Nichols AME Church, 2838 Tulip St, or by Zoom
Thursday, June 22, 6:30 PM, repeating the fourth Thursday of every month
- Hope Park
3035 A St
Monday, June 26, 5:30 PM
- McPherson Square
McPherson Square Branch Library, 601 E Indiana Ave
Tuesday, June 27, 5:30 PM
Can’t make it to the meeting? Complete this survey
- Harrowgate Park
3455 Kensington Ave
Wednesday, June 28, 5:30 PM
- Scanlon Playground
1099 E Venango St
Thursday, June 29, 5:30 PM
- Hissey Playground
400 E Indiana Ave
Friday, June 30, 5:30 PM
We invite Kensington neighbors to attend one or more of these public meetings to help plan changes you want to see at your local parks! For more information about any of these meetings, contact email@example.com (English) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Español).
Planning in pockets
The parks planning is the first example of a community-driven planning process that will soon include “pockets” of people across Kensington. A pocket of people could be:
- Kensington friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers;
- Part of an existing group, like a neighborhood group, club, class, or team; or
- A new group that you could bring together for this occasion.
By bringing together different groups of people and asking each group to name priorities for our neighborhood, we can learn together what Kensington neighbors want for our community. This information will be essential for city, state and nonprofit organizations who want to support Kensington with projects and investments.
Soon we will be posting a toolkit here that Kensington residents can use to plan with a pocket that you join or create. We will announce it through this newsletter and social media. If you’re in Kensington, we invite you to get a local neighborhood group you’re part of to sign up as a pocket for the ongoing planning process. The goal is to include as many neighbors as possible in planning the future of Kensington.
Working together for real change
This community planning process came out of years of organizing and action from Kensington community members and neighborhood groups. More recently, the call for community-led change kicked into high gear when SEPTA closed the Somerset El stop in March 2021. Hundreds of people—representing residents, civic groups, faith communities, nonprofits, and city councilmembers—marched in solidarity with SEPTA workers to demand “Safety and Solutions” for Kensington.
Within two weeks the station was open again as repairs continued. But neighbors wanted real change. A coalition of groups began working together, including Impact, NKCDC, East Kensington Neighbors Association, Harrowgate Civic Association, Kensington Neighborhood Association, and Somerset Neighbors for Better Living. After a special City Council hearing in Kensington in August 2021, the group wrote a letter to Mayor Kenney summarizing the concerns and suggestions they heard at the hearing.
The collaborative action made a big impact. When the Opioid Settlement funds were announced, Noelle Foizen, director of the city’s Opioid Response Unit, wrote on Twitter, “We have spent the past 18 months regularly meeting with community leaders as a result of their awesome community organizing and call to action, summer 2021. I’m so proud of this difficult work and thankful we had the opportunity to put the money where our mouth is.”
How you can get involved
- Keep up with kensingtonplan.org to hear about next steps for building a comprehensive community plan for Kensington.
- If you live near or use one or more of the parks listed above, please attend the public meetings and bring your ideas for how city funding can be used to benefit your community.
- If you’re in Kensington, get a local neighborhood group you’re part of to sign up as a pocket for the ongoing planning process.