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April 09, 2016

Giant 'jungle gym' planned for Smith Playground in Point Breeze

City Fitness to partner with Urban Roots and Connor Barwin's Make the World Better Project

Fitness Playgrounds
123015_SmithPlayground Contributed Art /Ambit Architecture

Rendering of revitalized Smith Playground at 24th and Jackson streets.

Last December, Philadelphia city officials joined Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin for a groundbreaking ceremony at Smith Playground in Point Breeze, where a major revitalization project is underway on the 7.5-acre site at 24th and Jackson Streets.

Barwin's Make the World Better Project raised $300,000 through a benefit concert at Union Transfer to support the improvements, which along with renovations at Ralph Brooks Park serve as a preview of what Mayor Jim Kenney hopes to accomplish at ravished public parks throughout Philadelphia.

It's doubtful that anyone expected Smith Playground to get a gigantic jungle gym for adults, but according to Be Well Philly, that's exactly what's planned through a partnership between Barwin's foundation, City Fitness and Urban Roots.

City Fitness marketing director Tom Wingert told PhillyMag that the year-round public fitness facility will occupy between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet, with "permanent structures" for exercises including pull-ups, dips and elevated push-ups. The outdoor gym will feature two spaces, one with a rubber surface and the other a turf zone for more aerobic activities.

The most promising part about this is that City Fitness plans to bring two of its popular Thrive functional training programs to Smith Playground free of charge. Expert trainers will provide individual and group sessions that can accommodate all ages and levels of fitness. One of those programs will be a scholarship-based training regimen for local high school athletes.

The jungle gym will be jointly designed by City Fitness and Avid Trails to go with a range of renovations including Rec Center improvements, new basketball courts, upgraded football and baseball fields, and Green Stormwater Infrastructure installed by the Philadelphia Water Department.

To raise money for the jungle gym, City Fitness will launch a crowdfunding campaign driven by a target opening date late in 2016. Check out the video below from National Fitness Campaign at San Francisco's Fitness Court to get an idea of what this project will resemble once it's up and running.