Department of Parks and Recreation Facilities Review March 2013

Audit Date: April 10, 2013
Audit Categories
  • Investigation
Controller: Alan Butkovitz
Audit Tags
  • Children and Families,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Inventory,
  • Parks and Recreation

Executive Summary

For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2013

Contact: Harvey Rice

Butkovitz Finds Dangerous Conditions Persist at Recreation Centers
City Controller’s follow-up report included examination of electrical hazards, water damage & fire exits locked with chains

Department of Parks and Recreation – Facilities Review 2013

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released a follow-up review of the Department of Parks and Recreation’s facilities that found several dangerous and hazardous conditions remain at recreation buildings and playgrounds.

“With the warm weather upon us, our recreation facilities will be full of kids playing and using the facilities for sports time activities,” said Butkovitz. “All Philadelphia’s children deserve clean and safe recreation centers. However, that is still not what we found.”

At half of the 28 sites included in the review, the Controller’s staff discovered various fire hazards. This included fire exits that were locked with chains and blocked with large objects and also fire extinguishers that were either expired or empty.

“These hazards and conditions can cause serious injury and harm to our children,” said Butkovitz. “Management and staff must take all safety measures, especially ensuring that exits are easily accessible in the event of an emergency.”

At half of the sites inspected, water damage was observed, including a toilet that would overflow into the kitchen area at the Kendrick Recreation Center. Several facilities have leaking roofs and water damage visible on ceiling tiles.

“Repairs need to be made at the first sign of water damage because it can quickly become a major problem,” said Butkovitz. “The longer the condition goes untouched the more expensive it will be to repair in the future.”

Other conditions found at the inspected facilities included the following:
-A large hole exists at Cruz Recreation Center creating heating and cooling issues as well as allowing for building debris to fall on the sidewalk below
-Many of the sites had exposed wires that need to be covered for safety and several electrical outlets near sinks that did not have proper circuit interrupters.
-Outdoor storm drains were clogged causing minor flooding issues as well as the risk for mosquito problems and the associated health issues.

“Parks and Recreation needs to develop a plan to inspect every recreation center and playground to identify and correct maintenance and safety issues,” said Butkovitz. “These inspections should start immediately and continue on an annual basis.”

“While the Department addressed many of the findings in our previous review, it must continue to place a high priority and greater emphasis on many of the findings that persist,” said Butkovitz.

To view the report, Department of Parks and Recreation Facilities Review 2013, please visit the Controller’s website at