Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barbara Capozzi and FDR Park

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Award winning realtor Barbara Capozzi

Also known as the Russian Tea Room, The Boathouse with its panoramic views, overlooks Edgewater Lake.

Barbara hangin’ with the guys—chillin’ with Carmen Intenzo and posse.

The children in the First Tee Program are ranked Number 1 in the nation.

Golf Carts ready for your use.

Peaceful and Tranquil views. Nature lovers: This place is for you!

With her hair blowing in the wind, award winning Realtor Barbara Capozzi Esq. takes a flight of imagination. “I wish your camera could take a picture and capture the cool breeze that’s blowing through FDR Park today.” We’re down at “ the Lakes”, as so many call the park, standing in the Boat House, a long open building, with graceful arches and a horizontal profile. Built in 1914, then expanded as the Russian Tea Room for America's Sesquicentennial Exposition of 1926 , the architecture significantly contributes to the Park's artistic quality. Capozzi, a community leader and visionary sees a beautiful future for the biggest green space in South Philadelphia.

“Friends of FDR Park has been revitalized with a very potent list of movers and shakers.We are brainstorming some grand ideas. In two or three years, you’re going to see some wonderful changes. We have ideas for the lake with having the water move more and be more beautiful.” Capozzi has recruited a young, energetic Gregory Jacovini and has enlisted a hearty band of board members. Already tackling many difficult issues, all for the benefit of local park lovers, Friends of FDR Park has become bolstered with new blood. “The Lakes are alive with energy!” exclaims Capozzi. “ Consider running up the Boathouse steps, a la Rocky.”

Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I spot a Pied-billed grebe, diving into Edgewater Lake. Originally more than 400 acres of wetlands and marshes, in the early 1900’s, city planners and developers were anxious to turn this large parcel into a bucolic setting. Enlisting the paramount landscape architecture firm, Olmsted Brothers, who were the sons of architectural pioneer, Fredrick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park in New York, the originally named League Island Park was completed in 1914. It has two big lakes, Meadow Lake and Edgewater Lake with three more lakes, ponds and lagoons that are part of two ecosystems that have nearly vanished in Pennsylvania, the coastal plain forests and the fresh water tidal marsh.

In the late 1940’s the name was changed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park to honor the late President. Also at that time, the146 acre Franklin D. Roosevelt Golf Club was established. The course, a par-69, Florida-style layout is relatively flat and open with wide fairways. To get the kids involved, First Tee, a nationwide golf training program is housed here. Out of the 200 national chapters, Philadelphia is ranked first.

In addition, FDR Park has 20 tennis courts, 8 ball fields, miles of tracks and trails for biking, hiking and walking, 125 acres of managed landscape, 77 acres of natural lands, and a vast oasis of green grass.

“This is our own Central Park but we need more people to come and use it. The Friends lobby for more funding to insure repaved roadways, new play equipment, improved lighting, rest rooms, snack bar, and restaurant facilities”, Capozzi wants the community to know. With the influx of more than 330 families at the Reserve Villa and the Regency at Packer Pack, the Lakes have started to hop again with action and fun. “We’ll do the heavy lifting but what we need you to do is just come down and use it. The more people that use it the safer it becomes,” she entreats. And due to rising fuel costs, “Staycations” ---staying home for vacation, are the new trend. If you’re looking for a place of peaceful reflection, healthy activity, and a safe place to bike, hike, or play ball with the kids, consider FDR Park. Located on Pattison Avenue, near the stadiums, between Broad Street and the 20th Street, FDR Park is a beautiful work in progress. You can be part of the revitalization of FDR Park/ The Lakes by becoming a member of The Friends of FDR Park. Just fill out the coupon and mail it in. After all, it is within walking distance.

My youtube videos of Barbara Capozzi at FDR Park

Here is a YouTube Video I shot of some of FDR Park regulars

Here is one of Barbara's friends singing opera in FDR Park

The Friends of FDR Park


Barbara Capozzi