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Community Groups Pulling Together to Transform West Phila. School Playground

(Lea Elementary School playground.  File photo by Michael Froehlich, zoraplays.com)

(Lea Elementary School playground. File photo by Michael Froehlich, zoraplays.com)

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By Pat Loeb

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Neighbors of Lea Elementary School in West Philadelphia plan to transform its asphalt playground into a parklike setting for sports, picnics, and outdoor learning.

Partial funding for the project was announced today.

The West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools envisions the Lea Elementary schoolyard as an asset not just to the school but to the whole community and, in fact, the whole city.

“The Lea schoolyard is located along the Spruce Street bike path that connects the Schuykill River trail and the Cobbs Creek trail, and we hope that our green schoolyard will provide a place of respite along that bike route,” said Julie Scott as she accepted $10,000 from Peco’s “Green Region” program at an event at the Please Touch Museum.

(Julie Scott, right, rises to accept $10,000 check at funding announcement at Please Touch Museum.   She is accompanied by fellow members of the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools -- Amara Rockar, left, and Jen Martel, center.  Photo by Pat Loeb)

(Julie Scott, right, rises to accept $10,000 check at funding announcement at Please Touch Museum. She is accompanied by fellow members of the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools — Amara Rockar, left, and Jen Martel, center. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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It was one of four projects to split $30,000 in grants from the regional energy utility. The Lea School project has also received $242,000 from the Philadelphia Water Department because the new space will manage stormwater runoff.

Groundbreaking is expected in the summer of 2015.