by Peggy Bradley

What I enjoy most about the Water Tower Recreation Center is the melding of our community. There are no class, race, gender, age or political barriers. It is where I see the best of Chestnut Hill. There are many wonderful programs happening at our community recreation center. These take place every day in an aging building on a scenic, historic property. It is an especially vibrant and healthy place to be.

Every weekday, there is a thriving after-school program that serves 90 elementary children.

There is a preschool and extended-day program for younger children. The gymnastics program is bigger than ever with 145 children. Adult programs include volleyball, yoga, fitness classes and a fitness center.

The Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club offers organized sports for boys and girls, regardless of skill level. This massive program is run by volunteers all year. Pickleball, my first love, is played four times a week by an organized group. The courts are terrific, as are the tennis courts. The playground and basketball courts are consistently busy with camps and community users.

The Water Tower staff and program instructors work tirelessly in a very difficult facility. The Advisory Council meets monthly, prioritizing repair strategies and plotting fund raising.

Philadelphia is the poorest major city in the country. Our public schools and recreation centers reflect that. The Water Tower, even though it is centered in a prosperous community, is no different. I have firsthand knowledge of this because I work and play in both.

This season, the staff and council will battle the ancient boiler and its many failing parts that sporadically provide heat. Currently we are in a state of partial repair. The programs continue, nevertheless. The staff and the kids still show up.

Amazingly, our recreation centers are solely responsible for the infrastructure of the buildings.

Cindy Bass, our City Councilwoman, has been instrumental in accessing any funds available to support our center. Our community is responsible for the rest.

Please keep our recreation center in the generous part of your holiday spirit. Drop in to see people in motion with smiles and friendship. Volunteer to help with the many tasks at hand as we push for the repairs and funding to sustain our center. There is a suggestion box for your ideas on how to make our community center more than it is. Most importantly, please donate so that there will be heat this winter. Will you please take the time to share our needs with friends and family?

To help us raise funds for the boiler replacement, please donate online.

Peggy Bradley is a member of the Water Tower Advisory Council.