Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Closing Carousel House, City's Only Rec Center Dedicated To People With Disabilities

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia is closing a much-loved park for people with disabilities. While officials say the rundown Carousel House will be rebuilt better than before, some who use the park are concerned about where they can be accommodated in the meantime.

This is the only rec center in the city dedicated to people with disabilities. Soon, it will be demolished, but the city has a plan for its future.

"The roof is really the biggest issue. There is significant leaks in the building," Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said.

There's now an initiative to rebuild Carousel House into a state-of-the-art facility with a current $10 million investment.

"We know how hard it is for the current users, the small community of users that have come to love Carousel House," Ott Lovell said. "We know it's going to be hard for them to have the facility to close."

Alegria Dasilva of Brewerytown knows all too well. Her 6-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair.

For years, the family struggled to find places that were accessible, until they found her second home.

"My kiddo gets to see kids who are older than her playing wheelchair basketball, she gets to see adults with disabilities who are just going about their daily lives and having jobs, and she doesn't get to see that very much," Dasilva said.

The Parks and Rec commissioner says they are working with the community to thoughtfully relocate programs and create inclusivity at all rec centers in the city.

"One of those facilities is the Gustine Recreational Facility, which is pretty close to Carousel House and very accessible," Ott Lovell said.

But …

"I just don't think they have a good plan to kind of spread these programs and have the capacity to have these programs to serve the community all over the city," Dasilva said.

As they work to build a more equitable system, the city will engage with the community then design the new project over the next two years before construction begins.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.