December 15, 2022
Mill Creek Playground will be renamed in honor of Tiffany Fletcher, the Parks and Recreation worker who was killed by a stray bullet while outside of the West Philadelphia recreation center earlier this year.
City Council voted unanimously Thursday to designate the playground as the Tiffany Fletcher Recreation Center. The bill described Fletcher as a "cherished" member of the Mill Creek neighborhood known for "always putting the needs of others above her own and striving every day to make a difference in the lives of those around her."
Fletcher, a 41-year-old mother of three, was sweeping outside of the recreation center on the 4700 block of Brown Street on Sept. 9 when she became caught in the crossfire of a nearby gunfight. Fletcher had begun working at the playground earlier this year as a pool and seasonal maintenance employee.
"Beautiful young woman, raised her family, took care of her kids, worked for the community," Derrick Long, paster for the Men of Mill Creek community group, who helped raise Fletcher, told WHYY in September. "She could have got jobs elsewhere. She wanted to give back. And she gave her life for that. She gave her life for that."
Makie Jones, 14, was charged with murder in the days after the shooting. He remains in custody.
At the time, Fletcher's mother, Geraldine, told 6ABC that she wanted the person responsible for her daughter's death to be "put away for life." She described her daughter as "a person about love and caring."
Dozens of people gather for a balloon release and vigil in honor of Tiffany Fletcher. A mother, and Philadelphia Rec Center employee. @6abc— Bryanna Gallagher (@BGallagherTV) September 10, 2022
She died on Friday after she was caught in the crossfire of a nearby gun battle.
She leaves behind three sons. pic.twitter.com/RXFDPKStQK
Fletcher was memorialized at Deliverance Evangelistic Church in late September during a funeral service attended by Mayor Jim Kenney, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell and dozens of West Philly residents. She was remembered as someone who answered the call to serve her community, NBC10 reported.
"Our city is inspired by her dedication and deeply saddened by the loss of Tiffany," Kenney said during the funeral. "And we can say with assurance she lived her life as an exemplary Philadelphian, as an exemplary human, as someone we can only hope to be as good as."
Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, who sponsored the bill to rename the recreation center, said earlier this month that her office would invest $1.2 million in capital funding to support repairs and renovations at the playground.
The Parks and Rec Heroes Fund organized a GoFundMe to support Fletcher's three sons as they navigate life without their mother. More than $35,000 has been raised since September.
On Sept. 27, Kenney signed an executive order banning firearms at recreation centers across the city. The ban was enacted several weeks after Fletcher's killing in an effort to ensure that families and community members have safe spaces to gather.
That same day, the Gun Owners of America filed a lawsuit against the ban, arguing Kenney's order violates a state law that prohibits municipalities from enacting their own gun laws. A Court of Common Pleas judge later supported that argument and ruled that the city could not enforce the ban.