About

Columbus Square is a vibrant community gathering place located between 12th and 13th Streets and Wharton and Reed streets in the Passyunk Square neighborhood in South Philadelphia.

Columbus Square offers residents and visitors alike a rich variety of amenities. Whether you are a dog lover, a parent with small children, someone who engages in organized sports, or you just want to “stop and smell the roses”, Columbus Square has something for everyone. From our rose garden to our nature walk encircling the park, Columbus Square will delight the senses of any nature enthusiast. An oasis from the hustle and bustle of urban living, Columbus Square is a unique community space which is ever evolving.

Come experience Columbus Square for yourself. Volunteer and GET ENGAGED!

Contact us to find out how.


 

Biographies

Ilene Wilder, President, Columbus Square Advisory Council

Ilene WilderIlene moved to Philadelphia from Chicago in 2003 and found her home in Passyunk Square in 2004. She was attracted to her house for many reasons, not the least of which was that it had a tree in front of it and a beautiful park across the street. Since living on South 13th Street, she has seen the neighborhood evolve into a wonderful mix of people comprised of longtime residents and newcomers who share a strong sense of community. Following her passion to help make the community a progressive, vibrant area, Ilene is currently the President of the Columbus Square Advisory Council and is raising money for a major park renovation project. As fundraising chair on the PSCA Board, she has developed a Sponsorship program as an outreach to the local businesses which has been very successful. She is the President of her own marketing consulting firm, Ilene Wilder Associates, LLC, as well as a realtor with Plumer & Associates. She was named one of South Philly Review’s top 25 Difference Makers in 2013.

Chris DiCapua, Vice President, Columbus Square Advisory Council

Christopher-DiCapuaChris DiCapua moved to Passyunk Square in 2007 after living for a number of years in the suburbs. He was attracted to the neighborhood because of its vibrancy and the sense of community it offers, its proximity to Center City and his work, as well as its many terrific restaurants, bars and cafes. He has been slowly updating his home, which is located on Columbus Square. He is currently the Vice President of the Columbus Square Advisory Council, and also serves as that park’s liaison as well as the immigrant outreach coordinator on the Board of the Passyunk Square Civic Association. He is a professor of Spanish at Community College of Philadelphia, where he also supervises the College’s International Studies program.

Peter Verrecchia, Treasurer, Columbus Square Advisory Council

peter-verrecchiaMembers of Peter’s family have lived in these immediate South Philadelphia neighborhoods for over 100 years. He attributes his love of art and nature to members of his Italian family who created meaningful relationships among the sciences of the world and the human creations within it. Peter graduated from Saint Nicholas of Tolentine School and St. Joseph’s Prep school. He attended Temple University for college and graduate school, studying psychology and sociology. Peter learned that community has the power to be the most resilient social form through living among lesbian/gay and transgendered folk in the 1980s and 90’s. Peter has been involved in community arboriculture for almost twenty year, guiding young people in community tree plantings in both University City and South Philadelphia. “A wise old mad told me that you don’t plant a tree to make the world beautiful, you plant a tree because you are beautiful!” Peter has been a member of the Columbus Square advisory board for 15 years, and has planted trees in and around the vicinity of our park for all that time. He is most rewarded by the daily appreciation that neighbors express in the work that he has done in making the park a discovery garden for all ages. Peter has been an active participant in The Passyunk Square Civic Association since its inception in 2004, leading tree planting events for many years and more recently coordinating the Christmas Tree recycling program. He has consulted with many neighbors on issues involving city trees.

Peter is most interested in celebrating urban neighborhoods as the most sustainable and rewarding way to live an authentic life. “We must cherish public space as the time honored location of a community’s expression of a shared sense of identity.”

Peter works as a nurse in the Emergency Department at Pennsylvania Hospital. He was named one of the top 25 Difference Makers in The South Philadelphia Review’s inaugural endeavor in 2010.

Patty Funaro, Secretary, Columbus Square Advisory Council

Pat Funaro is a life-long resident and fourth generation of her family to live in this community. While many others of her generation moved to the suburbs or south Jersey, she chose to remain for the area’s rich history, strong sense of community and convenience to center city and cultural and sports venues. She has been a homeowner since 1986. As a child and young adult, she participated in and attended many of Columbus Square’s activities, including arts and crafts in the Round House, softball games, carnivals and Columbus Day fireworks. She is currently serving as the secretary of the Columbus Square Advisory Council. Pat was educated locally as well, receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Temple University and Masters’ degrees in Social Service and Law and Social Policy from Bryn Mawr College, focusing on gerontology. She has worked in the field of aging for more than thirty years and currently is the Director of Program Management at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

Jessica Porco, Recreation Leader, Columbus Square

jessica-porcoJessica Porco, Recreation Leader for Columbus Square Park, was born and raised in South Philadelphia. She graduated with a Masters degree in education from Neumann University and began her teaching career at Epiphany of Our Lord School for a few years. She also taught at the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School for one year. Jessica has been with the City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation as a leader for seven years. Prior to coming to Columbus Square she was a Recreation Leader I at Murphy Park for the past seven years. Now a Recreation Leader II, Jessica was promoted to Columbus Square. As a native South Philadelphian, she has strong ties to, and does fundraising for the Mummers.

Michael DeFeliciantonio, Assistant Recreation Leader, Columbus Square

Michael DeFeliciantonio is an Assistant Recreation Leader and has been at Columbus Square since 1982.