The City of Philadelphia is making an investment in the future of the city's parks.
The Parks and Recreation department is getting an infusion of cash, a $2.6 million dollar increase in their annual budget.
"It's never happened before," says Parks and Recreation spokesman Alain Joinville, who expressed his excitement about what this money will be able to do.
The budget bump will create new jobs in the city. Joinville estimates between 50-55 new hires will be made, predominately for skilled trades and ground maintenance. The new jobs will be posted on phila.gov.
"The additional staff will help with long term maintenance of facility and parks. The additional hands-on-deck will stop small problems like a leaky roof, where a minor leak becomes a bigger issue and that roof would need to be replaced," said Joinville.
A portion of the money will also pay for new maintenance equipment and trucks.
This type of preventative maintenance means facilities and buildings will last longer and problems will be addressed on a more routine basis.
Half of the new money, $1.3 million, is already in use for this year. The next fiscal year begins in July and that's when the full $2.6 million will be added, bringing the total annual budget to about $47.7 million.
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke says keeping park facilities up to date with maintenance now, will save the city money in the long run.
He adds it's not just an investment in the landscape of our city's parks, but in the youth of the city, who turn to Parks and Recreation for productive opportunities, like athletics and year-round camp programs.
"Nothing in our minds is more important than young people in the City of Philadelphia," said Clarke.