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City To Convert Blacktop Into Parkland At Philadelphia Schools

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Turning acres of little-used paved surfaces at Philadelphia school yards into parkland is the goal of a program being launched tomorrow by city officials.

Parks and Recreation commissioner Michael DiBerardinis says the goal of the program is simple:  "Creating greenspace where there is none."

City and school district officials on Thursday will launch the effort at the William Dick Elementary School, at 24th and Diamond Streets in North Philadelphia.

"The school has about two acres of paved surfaced in the rear of the building," DiBerardinis says. "What we're going to do there is take up much of the concrete and blacktop and turn it into a fabulous park -- greenspace and recreation area -- not just for the children, but for the entire community."

The plan is to have nine other schools or city recreation centers with lots of blacktop converted to greenspace by 2015.

DiBerardinis says they've raised about $7 million of the $9 million needed. Joining in the effort is the Mural Arts Program, which will plan some murals for the new greenspace.

DiBerardinis says the school district has 300 acres of blacktop that is ripe for such conversion.    Another benefit to the greenspace conversion is that removing the concrete reduces storm water runoff at the site.

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