By Krissa Smith, HF Assistant Editor
Has the city of brotherly love also become the city of eco-love? Philadelphiaâ€™s popular park, Liberty Lands, is being renovated with a stormwater management system to cut water waste, decrease erosion and keep water out of the cityâ€™s system.
The park also has a new ADA-accessible performance stage, contoured lawn and new plantings ofÂ native trees and grasses.
To kick off the changes, the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association held a Spring Music Festival on June 6 with over 1,000 residents in attendance.
Janet Finegar, co-coordinator of Liberty Lands, said the music festival was a success, and attendees’ reactions to the changes were positive. â€śWe see the park as not just an amenity for the neighborhood, but an example of things we can do differently.
“We knew this system workedâ€”the cisterns were full and water was going where it was supposed toâ€”so Saturday was an opportunity to get the news out to the community,â€ť she says.
The Philadelphia Horticulture Society has worked on a master plan for the parkâ€™s water system for the past three year. The storm system plans include an inlet on Third Street to capture stormwater runoff. The runoff travels under the sidewalk, is released along a grass swale into a rain garden, and drains into an underground cistern for park irrigation.
With the parkâ€™s new water management system, is Philadelphia is one step closer to becoming one of the nationâ€™s greeniest citiesâ€”the goal of Mayor Michael Nutter?
According to the PHS, Joan Reilly, senior director of PHSâ€™ Philadelphia Green program thinks so.
â€śThis neighborhood treasure now has a high-tech system that will reduce stormwater flow into the cityâ€™s system,â€ť she says. â€śSustainable stormwater managementâ€”rain gardens, rain barrels, and other nontraditional methods of controlling stormwaterâ€”is an important next step in making Philadelphia one of the greenest cities in the country.â€ť
Philadelphia Green, the nationâ€™s most comprehensive urban greening program, has partnered with the Philadelphia Water Departmentâ€™s Office of Watersheds to improve stormwater management at more than 20 sites in Philadelphia, including Cliveden Park in East Mount Airy, the Springside School in Chestnut Hill and Clark Parkâ€™s basketball Court in West Philadelphia, reports the PHS.