Concert Kicked Off Park Improvements

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PHS celebrated the completion of a great project this weekend – an innovative storm water management system at Liberty Lands Park. Hundreds enjoyed a new stage as the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association kicked off its first event of the summer, the Northern Liberties Music Festival. A new rain garden is designed to funnel run off from the street, keep it out of the city’s overburdened system and feed back to watering plants at the park.

The project, made possible by PHS, the Philadelphia Water Department and the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, was funded by more than $300,000 from the Pennsylvania departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources, $25,000 from Tower Investments and $3,500 from nearby restaurant the Standard Tap.

The Philadelphia Water Department's Jessica Brooks and PHS's Joy Lawrence.

The Philadelphia Water Department's Jessica Brooks and PHS's Joy Lawrence.

“This neighborhood treasure now has a high-tech system that will reduce storm water flow into the city’s system,” said Joan Reilly, senior director of PHS’ Philadelphia Green program. The proceeds of the Philadelphia Flower Show support PHS’s outreach programs, including Philadelphia Green. “Sustainable storm water management – rain gardens, rain barrels, and other non-traditional methods of controlling storm water- is an important next step in making Philadelphia one of the greenest cities in the country.”

Over the last three years, PHS has worked with residents on a master plan for the storm water system for the 2-acre site. The park is now outfitted with an ADA-accessible performance stage and contoured lawn to accommodate audiences. An inlet on Third Street will capture storm water runoff, where it will travel under the sidewalk before being released along a grass swale into a rain garden. Water captured by the rain garden will feed underground cisterns what will be used for park irrigation.

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The new rain garden

The park, a former industrial site now home to 36 garden plots and a playground, is rapidly being surrounded by new town homes with balconies overlooking the park. Studies show property values can increase up to 30 percent next to cleaned and greened open spaces.

Philadelphia Green has partnered with the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds to improve storm water management at more than 20 sites in Philadelphia, including Cliveden Park in East Mount Airy, the Springside School in Chestnut Hill and Clark Park’s basketball Court in West Philadelphia.

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