Following the success of our 2010 restoration of the Second and Oley Playground in Reading, we switched our focus to our next big project, Barbey’s Playground. Located in the heart of Reading’s 6th Ward District between Schuylkill Ave and W. Elm Street, Barbey’s Playground is a two-acre park that was once considered one of Reading’s more popular parks.
Over time, the park lost attention and began to deteriorate. The dilapidated state of Barbey’s attracted gang violence and drug activity. A park that was once home to all-star pick up basketball games was now considered one of Reading’s problem areas. When asked, “Why would you want to fix up a park that has recently experienced so many different problems?” We answer, “because we don’t run from problems; we take them head on.”
On July 9, 2011, renovation on Barbey’s Playground began. This was Part 1 of a 2-part program we called, 2 Parks in 2 Days. Part 2 was the Temple Playground project held on July 10. Volunteers from all over Berks County converged on Barbey’s Playground at Elm Street and Schuylkill Avenue in Reading to make this dream a reality. The Gilmore | Henne Community Fund repaired the middle and south part of the park, installing over 12,000 square feet of new sod, building a serenity garden and new retaining walls, resurfacing the existing basketball court, and planting new gardens and other landscaping.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of the volunteers and our community partners,” said John Gilmore. “Their willingness to get involved with the work is a key indicator that our program will have a positive effect in this depressed neighborhood. We see the good in everything. This park will be a home for families, a safe haven for kids, and a pillar of pride in the community.”
View photos of the project using the gallery below or click here to check out all of our photo albums on Facebook.