The new green project at Berks and Sedgley is one of many investments we’re making in Strawberry Mansion. But to us, it’s a special example of what green stormwater infrastructure can be as we continue to build Green City, Clean Waters projects across the city.
That’s why we invited community members and local leaders out for a ribbon-cutting celebration on Monday, September 9. Featuring free tap from the Philly Water Bar and two other local staples that count on good water—pretzels and water ice—the fun event drew out kids from the nearby K-8 James G. Blaine School.
All were on hand to celebrate a new green initiative that we primarily designed to manage local stormwater and protect the Schuylkill River but is also helping the neighborhood in several other ways, as detailed in this report from WHYY and Plan Philly:
The package of new stormwater tools collectively manage close to 157,000 gallons of runoff each time there’s a 1-inch rainstorm—something that happens pretty often in Philly. Added up over a year of typical weather, the infrastructure celebrated at the event should soak up enough stormwater to prevent 6.7 million gallons of sewer overflow that would otherwise impact the Schuylkill.
As part of the local streetscape, this signature site uses a lush rain garden as a gateway to the recently opened Discovery Center, drawing in passersby to explore the incredible recreational space.
As a result of an extended curb that houses the rain garden, we were able to include a number of safety improvements as we reshaped the intersection, providing a safer, more beautiful route for the Blaine students heading to and from school. New pedestrian crosswalks, additional parking, and upgrades to six ADA ramps were all part of the system’s construction.
Berks and Sedgley Greening Fast Facts:
- Location: Berks St., Sedgley Ave., 30th St.
- Neighborhood: Strawberry Mansion
- Completed: June 2019
- Watershed: Schuylkill
- Stormwater Managed: Nearly 157,000 during a 1-inch storm, about 6.7 million gallons annually.
- Green Stormwater Tools: Rain Garden, Subsurface Trench, Tree Trench, Planters
And that is just the rain garden: nearby stormwater tree trenches, planters, and more add up serious investment in Strawberry Mansion’s streets. For us, projects like these are what continue to make Green City, Clean Waters a success nine years into the 25-year program’s implementation.
Combined with improvements to our traditional stormwater infrastructure, including replacing and repairing older sewers and expanding capacity at treatment plants, investments made through Green City, Clean Waters are helping us to keep billions of gallons of polluted water from sewer overflows out of our waterways.
Here's Commissioner Hayman speaking to the big picture during the ribbon cutting:
Improving water quality is a goal that drives everything we do, and it adds tremendous value to our communities: rivers that are healthier, better for wildlife and more appealing for relaxing and recreational activities like fishing and boating.
But, as Strawberry Mansion’s newest rain garden shows us, these projects also open doors that help us address local issues by engaging with residents and taking their input to build stormwater tools that serve nearby neighbors and benefit the whole city by providing cleaner waterways.