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Coming Home: The playgrounds of the North End

September 30, 2010

Terrace Lane Park

Heading into the North End, I was very curious to see my old stomping grounds, at least at Brookside Park and Terrace Lane. When I was growing up – um – several decades ago, the Pottstown Parks and Recreation Department ran programs out of all the parks and elementary schools. My home base was Franklin School. That’s where I learned how to weave potholders and tie-dye t-shirts, and every day kids of all ages swarmed the playground. One of the most exciting events of every summer – and these were very rare – was when one of the school’s maintenance men worked on the roof and started throwing down all the balls that had been hit, kicked or thrown up there over the past year. Baseballs, rubber balls, kick balls, tennis balls, even Frisbees, came raining down like manna from heaven. For sports lovers, it was truly a miracle.

Excitement also came from kickball games against other nearby playgrounds, including Brookside and Terrace Lane. I remember walking to each of those parks for some spirited competition, although I don’t remember any of the outcomes.

Terrace Lane Park

Recently, Terrace Lane got a whole new look: new play equipment, swings, bike racks, benches, a pavilion and tables. The faux wrought iron fencing that runs along the curve of Terrace Lane gives this park an especially attractive street view.

Brookside, on the other hand, is kickin’ it old school. I’m guessing that, aside from the newer play equipment near Hale Street, all the other fixtures are from my era. Frankly, I think it’s kind of retro-cool. It’s got monkey bars, a pavilion and a swingset that are all painted light blue and/or yellow. Most of the lot is still wide open and available for kickball. (Home plate would be at the intersection of Hale & Virginia.)

Brookside Park

I grabbed my ball from my car to give the small half-court and hoop a try. Ah, yes. The blacktop slopes downward toward Brookside. You have to use your legs more, the further you step out, to overcome that slope. And the left side of the rim is slightly higher. On that side of the court, you have to give your shots just a little more arc to clear the rim. This all came to me in a matter of seconds. Is it possible it’s the same hoop I shot at all those years ago? The muscles remember these things.

Brookside Hoop

Well, if you want to show your kids what it was like “when I was your age,” walk or bike with them over to Brookside. If they start complaining, make them walk/bike over to Terrace Lane for the newer stuff. It’s not far at all. (Hale Street to a right on Prospect. Go left on Adams when you see Brookside Country Club, pass the North End pool, go left onto Terrace Lane, park will be on your left.)

Spruce Street Park was not on my radar growing up. It was a little beyond the radius I moved in around my home. I never ventured too far for hoops back then; Franklin was where I always practiced. I do remember coming home from college and hearing my younger brother and sister talking about the great basketball being played at Spruce Street, especially in the summer. I only played there a couple times, when I had come home for Christmas with my husband, and the weather was so warm that we all put on shorts and t-shirts and got in some games. The two full courts at Spruce Street still seem to be the place to find a good run, while the adjacent tot lot will appeal to the younger crowd.

Spruce Street hoops

BROOKSIDE PARK
Location: It’s tucked away in residential area with streets on 3 sides: Hale Street, Virginia Avenue and Brookside, Pottstown, PA 19464.
Size: .5 acre
Suitability: 5-12 years old.
Facilities: Playground, swings, multi-purpose open space, small pavilion & tables, basketball court.
Activities + tips: On the b-ball court, use those legs, lift that ball up on your shots!
Hours: Dawn until dusk.

TERRACE LANE PARK
Location: On the curve of Terrace Lane, near the intersection with N. Adams Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.
Size: ~ 0.5 acre
Suitability: 5-12 years old.
Facilities: Playground, large multi-purpose open space, benches/sitting areas,
Activities + tips: This park can also be accessed from the alley between N. Warren St. & Terrace Lane.
Hours: Dawn until dusk.

SPRUCE STREET PARK
Location: Spruce Street, near intersection with Wilson Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. When you see the car wash, turn towards downtown Pottstown; park will be on your right.
Size: 1 acre
Suitability: Active and passive recreation for all ages.
Facilities: Playground, multi-purpose open space, 2 full-courts for basketball.
Activities + tips: These courts are popular with ballers; courts tend to attract older teens & adults. Parents will want to accompany their younger children to the tot lot.
Hours: Dawn until dusk.

Contact regarding any park rentals:
Pottstown Parks & Recreation Department
Borough Hall, 100 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464
610-970-6500
Click on the Department’s “Special Events” tab to learn more about upcoming events.

Follow the parks series at Mission: Healthy Living, Positively!Pottstown, Twitter (PositivelyPtown), Facebook, and The Mercury.

PHOTO GALLERY



Terrace Lane Pavilion


Terrace Lane Swings


Terrace Lane bike rack


Brookside play area


View from the street


Spruce Street play area


Spruce Street play area

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