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Rain Garden at Womrath Park Moving Forward

North end of the park where water collection will start

Back in February I attended a meeting on what I thought would be of little interest to me.  I like water but I wasn’t all that interested in watersheds.  It turned out to be one of the more interesting ideas I’ve encountered this year.

The plan to build the rain garden at Womrath Park is moving forward with construction likely to begin in the Spring of 2012.  Unfortunately it will close off the park for a significant time but the end result will be worth it.

We took a walk through with the water folks (Ashley Schmid and Valessa Souter-Kline) on Wednesday and the picture of what will emerge became a lot clearer.   Water will be collected starting at the high end of the park and end up in a water garden at the lower end.  This is how it sounds in Water Department language:

“Located one block north of Frankford Creek adjacent to the Market-Frankford El in a busy commercial district, Womrath Park presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate green stormwater infrastructure in a dense urban setting. Four modified curbside inlets will intercept stormwater from a 80,000 SF catchment area into a series of pipes and vegetated swales that convey the flow to a 3000 SF rain garden at the southern end of the site. Planted with native grasses, perennials, trees and shrubs, the rain garden will absorb and filter stormwater alleviating pressure on Philadelphia’s combined sewer system. Existing park benches and tables are well positioned to view and observe the rain garden, and new signage will educate and inform park users on the important role of this green stormwater infrastructure.”

South end of the park where the rain garden will be located

That is kind of how nature cleans up water, now Philadelphia is catching up and trying to use that plan.  It will save a fortune in building additional sewer treatment facilities of the next 25 years.  Seems like a good deal.

You can see a short video here with a better explanation than I give here of what is going to be happening.  Here is a summary of some of the details in a handout.

Lots of exciting things going on here in Frankford.