Residents recently gathered for the Germantown Garden Festival at Vernon Park. Community members stopped by to swap plants, attend gardening workshops and tour the park’s rain garden.
Plants for the event were donated by members of the community. Additional funding was provided by Friends of Vernon Park, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the maintenance of the park.
Vernon Park’s rain garden was designed by AKRF Consulting Firm and planted with the help of Friends of Vernon Park in Fall of 2011 after a year of research and planning. This water management system is part of the Philadelphia Water Department’s 25-year plan to green the city and improve water quality.
Molly Finch, a representative of the Tookany/Tacony – Frankford Watershed Partnership was present to inform the community about the importance of green alternatives to waste management. “The garden collects and filters stormwater that flows from gutters and keeps it from washing over the streets, and picking up dirt and waste on its way to our watershed,” said Finch.
Getting the project completed has not been an easy task. Troubles faced with building the rain garden included clogged gutters and repair of the copper roof.
“This project needs everyone in order to be successful. It needs the Parks and Recreation Department, it needs volunteers, it needs the city,” said Ruth Seeley, president of Friends of Vernon Park.
Vivian Rowe, a lifelong resident of Germantown and co-chair of the Germantown Garden Festival, sees a bright future for Vernon Park as well. Along with planting more, Rowe envisions a more usable place “where people can feel safe and be outside,” she said.