A busy 2024 for Water Tower

by Mary Pomichter, Water Tower Advisory Council
Posted 1/3/24

As the new year begins, the Advisory Council of the Water Tower Recreation Center has much to celebrate, including its fundraising efforts.

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A busy 2024 for Water Tower


As the new year begins, the Advisory Council of the Water Tower Recreation Center has much to celebrate, including the successful completion of its first fundraising effort since becoming a nonprofit. 

Phase 1 of the “Light Up the Tower” project is complete and includes the beautiful restoration of the WWll Memorial and surrounding flagstone paths and steps. Crews of volunteers have added flower gardens and planters and cleared out debris and trash. Phase 2 is underway now and will be complete soon. It includes graze lighting of the tower and paths, along with additional seating and signage to explain the water tower’s historic significance. This is the first project of the Water Tower’s Master Plan which is serving as a guide for this and other improvements to the recreation center.

Since the end of the pandemic, participation in activity at the rec center has grown significantly. The rec center has also expanded its online presence through its website, Facebook, and Instagram. Last year saw the return of the popular holiday craft show. Activities at the rec center include yoga, ballet, gymnastics and tumbling, boxing, tai chi, pickleball and tennis, among others. 

Along with community groups like the Boy Scouts, Norwood-Fontbonne Academy uses the rec center facilities for its soccer and basketball teams. The Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club serves thousands of community children with organized team sports at the rec center including baseball, soccer and flag football. New this year is the Water Tower Warriors soccer and spring basketball programs for children with special needs, and a Special Olympics gymnastics team that practices at the rec center. A thriving after-school program serves many Jenks School students, and a summer camp operates at full capacity in the summer.

Many in the community have donated large and small amounts to help the center thrive. Donations and grants of $5,000 or more towards this first project were received from VFW Post 5205, the Chestnut Hill Community Fund, the Raynier Foundation, Bowman Properties, Kurtz Construction Company and the estate of Linda Howell. Careful planning has the project on track to be completed within its budget of $105,000. 

However, projects of much greater cost are needed to keep the building operational and safe now and into the future. Although the Water Tower is one of the busiest recreation centers in the city of Philadelphia, it is also one in greatest need of repairs. Plumbing problems including water damage are ongoing, the building was recently without heat, the front of the building is in dire need of proper lighting, and the outdoor play area and basketball courts are in sad shape. 

These issues and others require much larger funding efforts. As we enter the new year, our goal is to continue our outreach to the community, apply for larger grants and seek the help of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. 

Meantime, the advisory council would like to thank the community for their tremendous support and encouragement as we look forward to more progress in the new year!