The Glenda Ann Christopher Memorial Park was founded and created by Community Activist, Greg Thompson. Mr. Thompson left Southwest in 1993, and he returned to the community in July 2017. He ran for Committee person for the 40th Ward, 9th Division and was successful. As he surveyed his community, and was very much concerned about the overall state of he saw. He reached out to his neighbors and suggested that they could revitalize the area that was once kept by Glenda A. Christopher into a memorial park. The neighbors agreed and the cleanup began.
First was the removal of the overwhelming debris and trash. Secondly, the cutting down of the huge trees and weeds, and finally Mr. Thompson reached out to various city departments and with the commitment of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, the vision for the park was now officially in motion. Once the trees were cut down and all of the debris removed, a temporary fence was built. And for the first time, LED street lights were installed. As the project progressed and expanded, more individuals became involved and the mission grew into a full-fledged community project. Mr. Thompson was able to receive over $15,000 worth of donations of plants and flowers from the Horticultural Society and Bartram Gardens. Ann Brown, the 40thWard Leader, donated funds for a stainless-steel grill and very soon, the City of Philadelphia will install benches under each memorial picture. Future plans include creating a green space surrounded by a six-foot fence.
Currently, there are 10 pictures being displayed, and when the memorial park is fully completed there will be 12 memorial pictures in the park. The memorial pictures cost $135 each and fortunately many pictures displayed have had sponsors who wanted to give back to the community. The pictures will last for over 25 years due to a special preservation process. The families on the block have worked diligently, meeting each week with Mr. Thompson to discuss how the park will look and how it will serve the entire community. Under each picture, the families have designed their very own special display to express their love and to include the contribution of their loved one to the Greenway Ave community.
The grand opening was on Saturday, August 3, 2019 with well-over 200 individuals attending along with State Senator Anthony Williams, Congresswoman Mary Gay-Scanlon, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and a representative form State Representative Joanna McClinton’s Office. At the ceremony, Glenda Ann Christopher’s family members officially accepted the Memorial Park for the Greenway Ave members and the larger community. The opening of the memorial park was a true salute to the community and now there is a sacred place, a place of tranquility and serenity for the individuals living in that area to have their gatherings. We give a special “thank you” to Committeeperson Greg Thompson for his vision and his tenacity to bring this project to fruition.