With beverage tax in limbo, Kenney moves ahead on playground and rec center upgrades

The mayor announced a two-phase effort at Parkside Evans Rec Center.

Mike DeNardo
June 20, 2018 - 2:02 pm
Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilman Curtis Jones

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The city is moving ahead with plans to upgrade its recreation centers and playgrounds, while the beverage tax that would fund them remains in legal limbo.

Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilman Curtis Jones announced that the fourth so-called "Rebuild" project will be a two-phase effort to build new soccer and football fields at the Parkside Evans Rec Center in the city's Wynnefield neighborhood. 

The announcement was made on the second anniversary of the signing of the Philadelphia beverage tax, which is being challenged as an unconstitutional double-tax by the American Beverage Association. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is considering the case. 

Kenney says if the tax is upheld, the city will be able to do a lot more.

"As soon as the Supreme Court takes the handcuffs off, we'll be able to roll out all of the pre-K seats, roll out the community schools, and get our Rebuild programs started in earnest," Kenney said. 

And if they don't? "We're going to do a lot less," he said. 

The $3 million Parkside Fields project will start later this year, regardless of how the Supreme Court decides, using capital funds already budgeted. The second phase hinges on how the Supreme Court rules.