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Philadelphia Beverage Tax helps fund $25M renovation of Kingsessing Rec Center

Philadelphia Beverage Tax helps fund major renovation of Kingsessing Rec Center
Philadelphia Beverage Tax helps fund major renovation of Kingsessing Rec Center 02:02

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A $25 million project to rebuild the Kingsessing Recreation Center is underway. Philadelphia officials celebrated the project with a groundbreaking event at the rec center Tuesday, with Mayor Jim Kenney and the Eagles on hand.

The new additions and renovations include an improved playground, an artificial turf sports field, improved pathways, lighting and a lot more. In all, Rebuild Philadelphia will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the city's parks, rec centers and libraries.

Rebuild Philadelphia executive director Kira Strong said the Kingsessing Recreation Center project will kick off $60 million in investments in the city this week alone.

Johnny Sample Recreation Center and Francis J. Myers Recreation Center will also begin renovations this week, Strong said. Construction has been underway at the Kingsessing Library since March.

The renovations are made possible by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax (PBT), and the program prioritizes sites in high-need neighborhoods, as well as those that are in extremely poor conditions.

"I think folks are really happy to see those dollars going toward really, really important community assets that benefit kids and families in Philadelphia," Strong said of the PBT, "so it's wonderful."

Strong said the Kingsessing Rec Center will "feel brand new" when the renovations are finished. It's expected to take a year to a year and a half to compete.

"We know this community has waited a long time," Strong said, "so we're so, so pleased to be here."

The Eagles and NFL Foundation donated $200,000 to help with the renovations.

"This project reflects a significant investment in our community," Eagles President Don Smolenski said in a news release. "The renovated recreation center, which will include an artificial, multipurpose field, will be a community pillar that will provide increased access and opportunity for our city's youth to learn, grow, and play in a safe, constructive environment."  

A news release said Kingsessing Recreation Center staff and staff-led programs will be relocated to the 48th and Woodland Playground during the renovations.

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