(Phila., PA) - Connor Barwin, a former Philadelphia Eagle and founder of Make the World Better (MTWB) Foundation, will kick off the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District’s dedication ceremony Thursday, September 26th, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., to mark the completion of five pocket parks along the Germantown Avenue commercial corridor and acknowledge the generous supporters who helped make the parks possible.
A Philadelphia resident, Barwin founded MTWB foundation in 2013 during his first year with the Eagles, and since then has led public park revitalization projects in West Kensington and South Philadelphia. Barwin was twice elected as the Eagles’ Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient in recognition of his community service efforts.
“The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) is very excited to welcome Connor Barwin to Mt. Airy and proud to share MTWB’s mission to enhance public spaces,” said Mt. Airy BID Chair Ken Weinstein. “Since its founding in 2008, Mt. Airy BID efforts have helped transform Germantown Avenue from a trash-strewn commercial corridor to a clean, green, and safe business district to serve the residents of Northwest Philly and beyond.”
The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District is one of 14 business improvement districts in the City of Philadelphia. Business Improvement Districts are legal mechanisms for property owners and businesses in a defined geographic area to jointly plan and fund a set of services to improve their area. The Mt. Airy BID is funded by 223 property owners to maintain the cleaning and greening of 1.8 miles of commercial corridor from Washington Lane to Cresheim Valley Drive.
Constructed over the past two years, the pocket parks converted vacant and underutilized lots along the commercial corridor into nicely landscaped gathering spots for the public to enjoy. The parks were made possible through the support of property owners in the BID, along with private donations from the community. The park amenities include benches, café and gaming tables, and custom-made little free libraries that celebrate Mt. Airy.
The pocket park in the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue is located next to the Johnson House Historic Site, Philadelphia’s only accessible and intact stop on the Underground Railroad. The park will be named Freedom Park in honor of this legacy. A sixth pocket park, to be built in 2020 in the 7100 block of Germantown Avenue, will be named Friendship Park. Located between “Freedom” and “Friendship” parks are: Sedgwick Park, Carpenter Park, Pelham Park, and Trolley Car Park, which is located next to the SEPTA depot.