This Thursday, two fun events will come together at Malcolm X Park for a special evening celebrating the park's strong community and the progress that we are making toward a greener, more vibrant Philadelphia with cleaner local waterways.

A ribbon cutting (led by Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Debra McCarty) welcoming new Green City, Clean Waters features at the park will be followed by live music thanks to a long-standing summer concert series.

You can invite friends and neighbors to the get-together, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and will have pretzels and water ice, by heading to our Facebook event listing. The event will take place at the park’s northeast corner, located at 51st and Pine streets.

Part of the Jazz Heritage Series presented by Parks & Recreation and hosted by the Friends of Malcolm X Park and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, the August 2 concert will feature a free live performance by Tony “TNT” Jones & Beyond The Dream.

Before music fills the atmosphere, though, we’ll be officially dedicating the new greenery that’s already making the park’s air a bit more appealing: nearly 30 new trees planted around the park's border.

These are not any ordinary trees, either.

Rather, they are planted within a set of four stormwater “tree trenches” built into new sidewalks that were also part of the construction. Specially designed with underground storage areas that allow the roots to soak up and filter dirty stormwater runoff from nearby streets, these tree trenches are one example of the green tools being installed in neighborhoods all over the city under the Green City, Clean Waters program.

Officially adopted in June 2011, Green City, Clean Waters is recognized as the first large-scale program to primarily address the challenges of urban runoff with green solutions, making it a national model for other cities seeking to reduce sewer overflows and improve public waterways. To build on green installations that capture stormwater and take pressure off our sewers, we’re also investing in traditional infrastructure improvements, such as lining leaky sewers and expanding treatment plant capacity, over the course of the program's 25-year lifespan.

When that expanded infrastructure network reaches completion in 2036, annual sewer overflows—one of the biggest pollution sources today—will be reduced by nearly eight billion gallons.

Improvements made under Green City, Clean Waters between 2011 and 2016 alone have already reduced annual overflows by roughly 1.65 billion gallons, and the projects at Malcolm X Park will help to keep even more polluted water out of local creeks like the Cobbs.

How much can a few new trees help, you ask?

Together, the green tools being recognized on Thursday capture and filter more than 84,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from the surrounding streets each time the neighborhood gets an inch of rain. That's enough to fill three water tanks the size of SEPTA buses, so these trees will soak up millions of gallons of captured runoff over the course of a year.

“The green tools at Malcolm X Park capture and filter 84,000 gallons of stormwater runoff from the surrounding streets each time the neighborhood gets an inch of rain.

Also on hand will be representatives from Greensgrow West, a local nonprofit expanding access to healthy food and gardening in West Philadelphia. As our Soak It Up! Adoption partner for this site, the organization will get an annual mini-grant to help us keep the new tree trenches clean, weed-free and working properly.

As many involved community members already know, this project was only a success because we had great input and participation from neighbors over the course of several community meetings spanning the two-year planning, design and construction process.

The community should be proud of the park and the role it’s playing in protecting Philly waterways, and we hope to thank plenty of neighbors for their support on Thursday!