stormwater planter

PPD Project Would Protect and Serve … Philly’s Rivers

PWD will present plans for green improvements at a Phila. Police Department building, Saunders Park and local streets on Feb. 21. This drawing shows improvements that could come to Pearl Street.
PWD will present plans for green improvements at a Phila. Police Department building, Saunders Park and local streets on Feb. 21. This drawing shows improvements that could come to Pearl Street.

At the Philadelphia Water Department, we’re always looking for ways to team up with sister departments like Parks and Recreation, Streets, the Dept. of Public Property and non-profits to build new Green City, Clean Waters tools that manage stormwater on public property.

The idea is that we can save time and money for the City—and reduce the headaches that can come with construction sites—by building green infrastructure in places where other types of investments are already taking place or needed.

On February 21, we’re meeting with members of West Philly’s Saunders Park community to get input on a green project that takes this partnership concept into novel territory—a new collaboration with the Philadelphia Police Department and Department of Public Property:

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.

Yorktown Green Streets Project Coming Soon

stormwater planter
Yorktown, a small residential neighborhood in North Philadelphia just south of Temple University (and once home to Gospel and Rock and Roll legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe!) will soon have one mile of bike lanes, two bus shelters, wider pedestrian islands, new ADA ramps and over 25 specially designed stormwater planters that will manage rainfall from the surrounding street. These upgrades are part of a project called Yorktown Green and Complete Streets, which emerged out of the planning process for Yorktown 2015, a five year action plan led by the Yorktown CDC.

PWD heard through this extensive planning process (over 260 residents participated!) that residents were particularly concerned with the maintenance of their unique, historic public spaces—a series of urban courtyard’s and cul-de-sac’s—and wanted to make them greener. Looking to invest in projects that not only manage stormwater but also improve the quality of life, PWD developed a project that would repair ADA ramps and install stormwater planters along 13th and 12th Streets. When the project proved too expensive to build, PWD began looking for grant opportunities to make the project more affordable.

In 2014, PWD expanded the project, committing to installing both bus shelters and extending bike lanes, and applied to both the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation and of Community and Economic Development for funding from the Multimodal Trust Fund. Yorktown Green and Complete Streets was one of 86 winners awarded money from the $84 million dollar fund and received over $800,000 for the project.

With the additional funding, the Yorktown Green and Complete Streets project is slated to break ground sometime in summer/fall 2015. To learn more, check out Flying Kite’s recent article about the project.

And check out Sister Rosetta Tharpe! Sometimes called the “Godmother of Rock and Roll,” she sang gospel music accompanied by an electric guitar and influenced artists such as Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley. An historical marker notes her Yorktown residence at 11th and Master streets. 

We thought her song "Didn't It Rain" was most fitting for story!  

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