Green Parks

Centennial Commons Ground Breaking: Green Upgrades to Protect Philly Waterways

This rendering of the Parkside Edge improvements shows the location of rain gardens that add landscaping to the area while managing stormwater from local streets and protecting the Schuylkill River. Credit: Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Studio|Bryan Hanes
This rendering of the Parkside Edge improvements shows the location of rain gardens that add landscaping to the area while managing stormwater from local streets and protecting the Schuylkill River. Credit: Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Studio|Bryan Hanes

The Philadelphia Water Department joined partners in kicking off major improvements coming to Fairmount Park’s Centennial District during a ground breaking ceremony on Thursday, April 20.

Representing the first phase of the Centennial Commons project—an ambitious plan connecting nearby Parkside residents to the area of West Fairmount Park that once hosted the famed Centennial Exhibition of 1876—the event took place at 41st Street and Parkside Avenue.

This initial phase of the project includes Green City, Clean Waters investments that will bring natural landscaping features to the upgraded park. Mostly managing stormwater from the streets of the adjacent Parkside neighborhood, the series of new rain gardens, featuring native plants, will keep millions of gallons of polluted water out of local waterways each year.

Lawncrest Residents Get Update on One of Philly’s Biggest Green Projects Yet

The map above shows the current plans proposed for the Lawncrest area.
The map above shows the current plans proposed for the Lawncrest area (click for larger image). Click here to see a detail of the green tools proposed for the Lawncrest Recreation Center. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

Nearly 100 Northeast residents came out to a community meeting last week to get updates on what will likely be one of the biggest combined Green City, Clean Waters projects planned since the program began in 2011.

Held with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the Lawncrest Recreation Center Advisory Council and the Tookany-Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, the March 7 meeting was organized by Philadelphia Water and focused on green stormwater improvements being designed for Lawncrest Rec and the surrounding area.

With over 80 green stormwater tools spread across the rec center and local streets, the proposed improvements will provide new landscaping and green space while vastly enhancing the area’s ability to manage the rain that falls on local roofs, streets and other hard surfaces during storms.

While this complex series of projects is still taking shape, the current designs would allow those green tools to manage about 978,000 gallons of water every time we get an inch of precipitation. In Philly, that kind of storm happens about 65 times per year—meaning the Lawncrest Green City, Clean Waters projects could keep as much as 63.5 million gallons of stormwater out of our sewers and streams annually when completed.

That’s like attaching 50-gallon rain barrels to the downspouts of 1.3 million homes. (!!!)

Francis Myers Rec Set to Do Its Part in Helping Philly Rivers

New Green City, Clean Waters tools will manage stormwater from the roof of this building and more. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
New Green City, Clean Waters tools will manage stormwater from the roof of this building and more. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

Francis Myers Recreation Center is a big, beautiful Philadelphia Parks and Recreation site in Southwest Philly.

For Philadelphia Water, that big rec center presents a big opportunity to manage the site’s stormwater, which can overwhelm local sewers when it rains and lead to sewage overflows that pollute our rivers.

That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with Parks and Recreation and the community to create green stormwater infrastructure for the area through our Green City, Clean Waters program. In addition to catching and filtering stormwater with plants, soil and stone, these important upgrades will also beautify the area, making Francis Myers a greener and even more inviting place for all residents.

Bartram’s Mile Extends SRT — And Helps the Schuylkill River, Too

It’s official: Philadelphia students joined Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Water and other partners in a Bartram’s Mile ground breaking ceremony on Nov. 23. Credit: Philadelphia Water
It’s official: Philadelphia students joined Parks and Recreation, Philadelphia Water and other partners in a Bartram’s Mile ground breaking ceremony on Nov. 23. Credit: Philadelphia Water

Bartram’s Mile—the first stretch of the Schuylkill River Trail to reach the river’s west bank within the city—is an exciting public-private partnership that will add a beautiful new mile-long greenway to the Schuylkill River.

Partners on the project, which broke ground on November 23, include Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the William Penn Foundation and Bartram’s Garden.

You can read a good Philadelphia Magazine article on the new trail segment by clicking here but, in essence, Bartram’s Mile will follow the Schuylkill River from Grey’s Ferry Avenue to 56th Street and include a new pedestrian bridge connecting South and West Philly.

This exciting improvement is designed to bring many more residents and visitors to our waterfront, which is becoming more and more popular as our rivers become cleaner and more attractive. It will also provide easy access—a new gateway for pedestrians, cyclists and more—to some local gems like Bartram’s Garden, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, and John Heinz Wildlife Refuge.

Construction of the proposed “Schuylkill River Swing Bridge”—what the east-west connector is being called—could start as early as this summer and be complete by the end of 2017, according to Plan Philly.

And (as if creating a new green amenity for the city and providing a brand new way to access the waterfront isn’t cool enough!) this project will also fight stormwater pollution with an innovative green infrastructure “greenway” on three nearby streets.

Philadelphia Water Loves Our Parks

Some of the Green City, Clean Waters improvements at Dickinson Square Park. Credit: Philadelphia Water
Some of the Green City, Clean Waters improvements at Dickinson Square Park. Credit: Philadelphia Water

With the fall Love Your Park day of service upon us, we’ve been thinking about how much we love our parks and what the folks over at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation do every day to care for those spaces, making sure they are clean and safe.

Of course, with Fairmount Park’s historic role (in part) as a natural preserve designed to protect the city’s source water, you could say we’ve been a fan of Philly’s parks right from the beginning.

Today, Parks and Recreation is a vital partner in our Green City, Clean Waters program.

Community Meeting for Lanier Park Stormwater Improvements

You’re invited! Come out to Grays Ferry to learn about an upcoming construction project at Lanier Playground.

Located at 29th and Tasker streets, Lanier Playground has been selected by Philadelphia Water for a stormwater management project that will soak up stormwater runoff and restore the baseball field.

Please join us Thursday, Sept. 10 (rain or shine) from 6– 7 p.m. at the Universal Audenried High School Auditorium (3301 Tasker Street) to learn more about the project and what you can expect during construction. Refreshments will be served.

This project is part of Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program which works to improve the health of our local rivers. By storing rain water under the park and then letting it soak into the ground through natural processes, we can help keep the Schuylkill River clean. Philadelphia Water’s construction work will start before the overall Lanier Playground Improvement Project planned by Parks and Recreation, the Trust for Public Land, Philadelphia Water, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s Office and the community.

Click on the image below for larger version of our community meeting flyer for this event:

Meeting Flyer for Lanier Playground.

Good (Green) News for a Riverwards Gem


Above: A map showing the planned location of four new green stormwater tools in Harrowgate Park. Click for a larger image. Source: Philadelphia Water.

Harrowgate’s green jewel—a public square located at Kensington Avenue and E. Tioga Street—is about to get a little greener thanks to a new project from Green City, Clean Waters.

Given Harrowgate Park was (according to Wikipedia lore, at any rate) named after an English spa resort in the 1780s as a tribute to the area’s healthy spring waters, it’s fitting that the coming improvements for this Riverwards greenspace will once again make this a place where water flows more naturally.

About 50 residents at a meeting of the newly formed Harrowgate Civic Association learned about plans for four new rain gardens, which will use plants and natural landscapes to slow and filter stormwater from nearby streets, during a presentation from Philadelphia Water earlier this month. The goal of the green tools is to reduce excess rainwater from entering sewers, where overflows end up putting harmful sewage into our rivers.

The current Harrowgate Park schedule calls for construction of the rain garden infrastructure to begin this winter, followed by plant installations in the spring. Shrubs and flowers selected for the site include red twig dogwood, Japanese holly, black-eyed susan and echinacea. Work should wrap up in summer 2016.

The project, which will also include tree pruning and removal of a dead tree near the northwest edge of the park, was first selected for Green City, Clean Waters’ Green Parks program in 2012 and has been made possible by working alongside Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

Related: What’s a Rain Garden, and How Do They Work?

Syndicate content