vacant lots

With help from Residents, Point Breeze Vacant Lot Is Becoming a River-Protecting Green Space

Point Breeze Cleanup & Block Party - June 2017

After two hot hours of picking up trash, weed-whacking, and sweeping at a vacant lot in Point Breeze, PowerCorps PHL’s Desmon Richardson, on hand with fellow crew members to bring some added muscle to the effort, suggested lining the small, triangular space with unused rocks from a pile sitting in the middle of the site.

Neighbors who’d been helping agreed: the natural-looking border was the perfect finishing touch for the renewed lot, concluding a sticky Saturday morning spent cleaning up the local eyesore.

Members of the Philadelphia Water Department’s Public Engagement team joined the local non-profit Diversified Community Services and area block captains on June 10 to clean the publicly-owned lot at Point Breeze Avenue and Mifflin Street—the future home of a rain garden that will soak up stormwater and bring regular maintenance to the site through Philadelphia’s Green City, Clean Waters program.

Similar efforts in other neighborhoods have led to dramatic improvements at formerly nuisance-plagued lots, something locals are hoping to repeat here.

Year in Review, Part Two: 2016 a Big Year for Philly Water Stewards

This is the second installment in our blog series looking at all the great news and events 2016 brought for Philly's water community.

Part I started with the appointment of Debra McCarty as Commissioner and explored highlights like our new water stations, the amazing work of volunteers, the Green City, Clean Waters Year 5 celebrations, our collaboration with Saint Benjamin Brewing Co. and more. Check it out!

2016 Water Highlights Part II...

New Storm Drain Markers Introduced
In 2016, Philly residents got to meet their watershed spirit animal as we rolled out new storm drain markers featuring a special aquatic critter for each of the city’s seven watersheds.

Volunteers have played an important role by signing up for our free marking kits and taking the time to install the new watershed markers at inlets all over the city.

Tour Two Point Breeze Vacant Lots Targeted for Green Improvements

The rendering at right shows a rain garden proposed for a vacant lot at 1900 Point Breeze Avenue. PWD will be touring this site and a second vacant lot on the 1700 block of Ringgold Street.

We kicked off October with a ribbon cutting at a formerly vacant lot at 55th and Hunter streets in West Philadelphia that is now a vibrant green space featuring a rain garden and hidden storage trench that manage stormwater and protect local waterways while adding a whole new asset to the neighborhood.

On October 18, we’ll be holding a walking tour at two sites in Point Breeze where similar rain gardens could bring flowers and plants to vacant lots, adding new green spaces to the area and helping to protect the local watershed. Join us at 5pm at 1701 Ringgold to start the tour:

This map shows where PWD will meet for the Oct. 18 vacant lot tour.

Come See How Green City, Clean Waters Helped Transform a Vacant Lot into a Community Gem

This is close-up image showing an American shad on the mural at 55th and Hunter Streets. The mural features raised and textured elements that make it pop off the wall.
This detail shows shad depicted in the new West Phila. mural created by Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali. Credit: Philadelphia Water

What happens when the nation’s boldest green infrastructure program meets the nation’s boldest mural arts program in a vacant West Philly lot?

The public is invited see for themselves at the Heston Rain Garden Mural Dedication & Ribbon Cutting event, to be held on Wednesday, October 5 at 3:30 p.m. at 55th and Hunter streets in the Hestonville neighborhood.

Join Philadelphia Water, Parks and Recreation, the Mural Arts Program, Councilman Curtis Jones, the Hestonville Civic Association and community members in celebrating the first Green City, Clean Waters vacant land transformation, a project that turned an empty lot into a green space that manages stormwater, protects local waterways, and features a vibrant water-themed mural from Philly artists Eurhi Jones and Mike Reali.

Saturday: See GSI Being Made and Contribute to Art in Hestonville

Hestonville residents and representitives from Philadelphia Water break ground at 55th and Hunter streets. Volunteers will gather for a community paint day to begin a mural planned for the wall seen in the background. Credit: Philadelphia Water.
Hestonville residents and representatives from Philadelphia Water break ground on a Green City, Clean Waters project at 55th and Hunter streets. Volunteers will gather for a community paint day to begin a mural planned for the wall seen in the background. Credit: Philadelphia Water.

This Saturday, volunteers will join Mural Arts, Philadelphia Water and members of the Hestonville neighborhood in West Philadelphia for a community paint day that will help artists Eurhi Jones and Michael Reali complete a new mural titled “Your Hands Shimmering on the Legs of Rain.”

Set for completion in spring 2016, the mural will overlook and highlight a Green City, Clean Waters project that will bring a rain garden and storage trench to a vacant lot at 55th and Hunter Streets. The mural was designed with input from neighbors who requested that art be included in the project during community meetings about plans for the site. "Your Hands Shimmering" is also part of the citywide Philly Water Art program, which uses creative works of public art to engage residents and connect them to green infrastructure projects that tend to blend into city streets or are hidden beneath the pavement.

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