Giggles and screams filled the Shissler Recreation Center playground last Thursday as soaking wet children ran up and down the pavement between beds of ornamental grasses and repurposed mill stones, some still in their graduation gowns. Thursday, May 23rd was a day of celebration for the parents and children of Shissler’s 2013 pre-school graduation. After a long ceremony of singing, dancing and pictures, the students raced out to the playground for the ribbon cutting of Shissler Spray Park. Tentative at first, the children eventually ran in and out of the ground sprinklers, splashing and playing together on the hot May day.

The spray park, a joint initiative between Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the Mural Arts program, became an official part of ‘The Big Green Block’ in Kensington. The Big Green Block, located just off the Berks El station, is named for all of the environmental features of the area – including the LEED certified Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) and PWD green stormwater infrastructure tools (stormwater tree trenches, rain gardens and more). The New Kensington Community Development Corporation (CDC) has further plans to re-do the basketball courts at the neighboring Shissler Recreation Center. Learn more about the creation of Kensington’s big green block here.