Thirty years ago, South Philadelphia’s Dickinson Square Park was a mess. “Cans were throughout the whole park. Dog poop was absolutely everywhere. It was a dump,” says Ron Cohen, former president of Friends of Dickinson Square. Cohen has had a third-floor view of the park since his family moved into their apartment in the 1980s. Over the years, his view has improved. The Friends of Dickinson Square keep up the general maintenance, and now the well-used community space is getting a facelift with help from the Collaborative.
“[The Collaborative took] our ideas in conjunction with their concepts and put [them] into a format that was easily readable for the city and state,” says Cohen. The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, which is responsible for the space, has since adapted the Collaborative’s 2007 design. New lighting and playground equipment is being installed. More trees will be planted, surfaces repaved, fencing fixed and a mostly unused, large, circular building will be taken down. Construction started this fall and should be completed by Spring 2012.