West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools

Planting Day Crowns Project to Improve School with Green Infrastructure, SMIP Grant

Trees, permeable pavement and a rain garden all make the Lea schoolyard a better place for kids and Philadelphia’s waterways. Credit: West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools
Trees, permeable pavement and a rain garden all make the Lea schoolyard a better place for kids and Philadelphia’s waterways. Credit: WPCNS

Since 2012, Philadelphia Water has worked with members of the Lea Elementary School community and a number of partners to redesign their schoolyard and the surrounding area in a way that benefits the students, the neighborhood and our local waterways.

Greening Lea Playground

Lea Elementary School Playground before the Greening Lea Project
Lea Elementary School Playground before the Greening Lea Project


Lea Elementary School Playground after phase l of the Greening Lea Project

Congratulations to Lea Elementary School which recently completed phase I of its playground transformation project! Previously an asphalt lot, the Greening Lea project will revitalize the school’s 41,000 square foot playground and convert it into a vibrant, fun educational space for the school and the larger community. The Philadelphia Water Department awarded the West Philadelphia Coalition for Neighborhood Schools (WPCNS), which is spearheading the project, a $242,000 Stormwater Management Incentives Program grant for the project, which will include a porous play surface, a rain garden and other green tools to manage stormwater runoff. 

WPCNS has been working since 2012 to revamp the play areas and brought in parents, students, volunteer design professionals, the Community Design Collaborative, the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Water Department, who worked together to create a master plan for the schoolyard. On September 19 there was a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the expansion of the existing play set to include a play set from nearby Wilson Elementary School, which was closed in 2013. Beneath both play sets a colorful, squishy porous surface was installed that provides a soft landing for kids while also capturing stormwater that falls on the site.  

The new play area and porous surface are just the beginning of the transformation for Lea. Later phases of the project include installing rain gardens, new trees, a new basketball court, a stage area and more. You can read more about this project in the Philadelphia Tribune and on the WPCNS website.

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