Some of the Green City, Clean Waters improvements at Dickinson Square Park. Credit: Philadelphia Water

With the fall Love Your Park day of service upon us, we’ve been thinking about how much we love our parks and what the folks over at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation do every day to care for those spaces, making sure they are clean and safe.

Of course, with Fairmount Park’s historic role (in part) as a natural preserve designed to protect the city’s source water, you could say we’ve been a fan of Philly’s parks right from the beginning.

Today, Parks and Recreation is a vital partner in our Green City, Clean Waters program.

We recognize that, with their support, we have far more green infrastructure helping protect Philly’s rivers, so we thank the receptive and forward-thinking people who work there for all that they’ve done.

We highly encourage residents to get involved with Love Your Park, a collaborative effort among the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and local park friends groups. Over 60 neighborhood parks across the city are participating in Love Your Park celebrations this fall. Click here to see if there’s a participating park near you.

For our part, we’re constantly working with local parks through our Green Parks program, which identifies locations where the need for green stormwater management overlaps with park space in need of renovations. Targeting these sweet spots through our partnership lets Philadelphia Water and PP&R work efficiently to improve neighborhoods and infrastructure, and we all benefit from that.

By working in the parks, we get crucial space for projects that help us reduce sewer overflows by managing water from storms. But park users also get revamped open spaces that sometimes include new equipment, park gateways and athletic surfaces, not to mention beautifully landscaped green stormwater tools like rain gardens.

In all, we’ve partnered with PP&R on more than 70 Green City, Clean Waters projects that have been completed or are in the design and construction pipeline. And we coordinate with them on many additional projects on the streets and sidewalks surrounding parks.
Some of these park projects were requested by the community, while others were identified as a high priority sites by Philadelphia Water. Still others were constructed in connection with PP&R improvement projects in order to satisfy the stormwater regulations.

One great example of a park that benefited from collaboration between Philadelphia Water and PP&R (and lots of other partners) is the Ralph Brooks Park in South Philadelphia, where new green stormwater features were a small but important part of a massive makeover guided by the community and other city agencies and groups and included tons of additional improvements. We were proud to bring Green City, Clean Waters improvements to their efforts, and look forward to doing similar work at the nearby Smith Playground.

Those are very high-profile examples, but parks throughout the city incorporate green stormwater infrastructure. Dickinson Square Park and Weinberg Park in South Philly are good examples of the many parks hosting Love Your Park cleanups that have, or are in the process of getting, green infrastructure improvements.

At Dickinson Square, we worked with PP&R to install a tree trench, stormwater bump out, and several new street trees that manage more than 25,000 square feet of nearby impervious surfaces. Current design plans for Weinberg Park include a sidewalk tree trench and subsurface storage under an improved landscaped area.

So, if you’re heading out to one of those spaces for Love Your Park, you’re helping to take care of PP&R sites dedicated to protecting our rivers from stormwater runoff!

We recognize that Green City, Clean Waters is greatly enhanced by our partnership with PP&R, as well as other City departments, and we look forward to working side-by-side with them for years to come.

MORE: Work with one of our watershed partners during Love Your Park Day by joining TTF Watershed partners! Click here for details!