What will it take to get Squirrel Hill falls functioning as a useable space again?
It will fester until the current owner dies and/or sells it. The whole story is a primer on how NOT to be a community leader. What a waste.
Who actually owns the park?
I thought it was the artist, Danielle Rousseau Hunter, but this article says the nonprofit Friends' Rehabilitation Inc. (FRI). This article also helps to explain how the park got to its current decrepit state. Anyway, she seems to think of it as hers and has gotten it to the point where few want it.
Originally Posted by Milan Marvelous
A few years ago, she was suing the owners of the building her masterpiece of a mural is on for damaging it. Case got dismissed.
it really is quite sad. thanks for the articles.
Outdoor Danger Danger shows?
That would be amazing. think she could be talked to? anyone know her?
I will second that the space is unuseable until Danielle is removed from the picture. She is a tyrant and it isn't hard to find horror stories from neighborhood folks (including myself) who have tried to organize or coordinate activities at the park.
If the space was really important and there was a highly motivated person behind the effort, I'm sure we could convince some government power to change things, but no one has ever cared that much and we don't have the best city council representation in this area.
It really is a fiefdom -- it is always locked, and she has the only key. You can only use the space if she is there to supervise and let you in. I've thought more than once about just destroying the fence and locked door to make a point, but I'm not sure it's worth all the trouble.
i've got bolt cutters....
Originally Posted by monkeyajb
Funny you should say that...
I'm a newbie to West Philly, just in under a year. But my background has been in service-learning and leadership, so I'm into volunteer opportunities. Squirrel Hill Park seemed to be the hidden gem just down the block.
Yes, Friends Rehabilitation Inc. does own the property. Yes, it is locked. And yes, they have recently obtained the right insurance that would let folks back into the park on a limited basis. (yay!)
No, Danielle is not the keeper of the land nor does she provide or prohibit access.
No, Friends Rehabilitation Inc. doesn't specifically have this park under any one person's preview in their office. However, a kind employee has taken to idea of its "cleaning-up" and possible use. No, there is not direct or easy way to contact, access, or use the park currently. (I smell a volunteer opportunity.)
However, I (on the behalf of the West Philly Worship Group, e.g. Quakers) have been in a long dialogue with Friends Rehabilitation Inc. about clean up of the park. It may be short notice, but it looks like we might have a "clean-up" date near the end of June. (cross your fingers!)
So if you like dirt and leaves, or just want to poke your head in... I'll keep ya'll posted if they confirm an access date.
Kdubbs this is very nice work. Keep us posted!
Got the confirmation today; June 26th 1-5pm for "Clean-Up" Day.
We are focused on:
-Trash pick-up and disposal
-leaves/organic matter disposal
Currently our needs for the project are:
-plastic trash bags (trash!)
-garden waste bags (organic matter)
-Gardening equipment ( Anyone with Tool Library access?)
We may have more to "do", but so far FRI has asked only for the cleaning of the park.
I'm Keira and you can get in touch with me here or check out info here: Getting Grimey with Squirrel Hill (Falls) Park « Philly City Makes a Girl Gritty
We had an awesome turn out and cleared away a lot of low hanging trees, debris, tons of leaves, and even got to sweep up to see the brick floor!
We had plenty of passers-by who were shocked, interested, and excited. Lots of ideas were exchanged about the parks possible future and the FRP person who help coordinate, Andrew, shared some about the park and took down folks names who were interested. Some folks stopped by from their Sunday walk and joined in. We had over 25 people, including two fabulous little girls who did the best sweeping job I've ever seen!
It was a wonderful time and a great opportunity to talk with FRP and make new friends/neighbors. I hope to see you all in the future!
Heard this all went well!( Is FRP, Friends Rehabilitation Inc?) Hopefully they can get something happening in there beyond the yearly clean-out.
My name is Evan Hoffman. I've read your posts with great interest and excitement! I am a dancer, artist and DJ here in Philly and I live a few blocks from Squirrel Hill Falls. I just recently discovered it and it really intrigued me. I am SUPER interested in helping clean it up and open it for performances and shows and public performance/meditation space. In short, when it is set to rock & roll, I'd LOVE to put on a dance/multimedia performance there sometime in the Fall. Kdubbs, you seem to know what you're talkin about and have alot of info. Can you please tell me when the next clean up day is and what other volunteer opportunites are available??! I'd really like to get in on this and make this happen! The space is such a mystical & wonderful environment! It's exactly what I'm looking for. Any info anyone can give me would be much appreciated!! Thanks!
Peace, Evan 484-542-1398 firstname.lastname@example.org
I just posted below, but wanted to write to you personally. I am SUPER interested in Squirrel Hill Falls and setting a possible show there when it is cleaned up! I would love to help clean it up and do whatever else I can to help. Lemme know what thoughts you have! Thanks so much, Evan Hoffman, artist in west philly
I've been working outside of Philly in the great state of IOWA! So, I missed some questions. Yes FRP= Friends Rehabilitation Program Inc. We had a debrief meeting just a few days after the clean up to feel out how it went and other opportunities. There are still quite a few things that need fixed/dealt with as many of our volunteers pointed out with in their various skill sets. There was more talk about creating useful garden space on the outside perimeter of the park, but first we need to remove the "plant cages" (as they have been referenced). There is also some conversations going on between University City District and FRP. It what extent, I do not know.
I do know FRP is interested in holding a second summer/fall clean up.
The conversation has started, and that's sometimes the hardest step.
Park was full of construction debris from neighboring renovation last time I went by, so I'm guessing not
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