Philadelphia Nonprofits Receive $800K for Environmentally Safe Stormwater Improvements

by | Mar 13, 2019

Two Philadelphia nonprofit sites, the Leon H Sullivan Human Services Center (“the Center”) and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Germantown have been approved for a total of $800,000 in green stormwater infrastructure site improvements from the Philadelphia Water Department. These new awardees represent the Philadelphia Water Department and implementation partner Greenprint Partners’ push for equitable distribution of funds and high-impact stormwater management projects in underinvested areas.

Part of the Philadelphia Water Department’s “?Green City, Clean Waters” initiative, the ?Greened Acre Retrofit Program (GARP) reimburses landowners for the cost of green infrastructure development on properties within the combined sewer zone. Projects, which can include stormwater management practices such as bioswales, rain gardens, tree trenches and more, help the Philadelphia Water Department meet its pledge to use green spaces to capture more than one-third of the stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces by 2036, reducing stormwater pollution in waterways.

According to Greenprint Partners, the benefits to participating organizations like the Center and St. Luke’s go beyond property enhancements: ?ratepayers can also reduce their annual stormwater bills up to 80% by earning credits for successfully installed and maintained GSI.

Initial surveys and conversations with the Center led to the prioritization of three primary co-benefits for their property and the surrounding Yorktown neighborhood:

  •  making visible investments in the property that drive economic development;
  •  adding a community gathering space to support the Center’s commitment to diversity and inclusion; and
  •  increasing access to green spaces that encourage tenants to interact with nature.

“The Center is located in a neighborhood with high rates of cancer and respiratory illness. Adding green space to the site that can not only help clean our air, but also encourage our tenants to use the site’s outdoor space, helps us live the values of our founder, The Reverend Leon Sullivan, who believed in economic empowerment through local investment” said Mable Welborn, Board Chair of the Trust.

Likewise, St. Luke’s in the East Germantown neighborhood prioritized:

  •  creating green space for the community;
  •  increasing community pride through placemaking; and
  •  enhancing community health by encouraging active living.

With the Philadelphia Water Department funds, Greenprint Partners will deliver rain gardens and additional canopy trees at St. Luke’s, which not only offer a more inviting space for children to exercise and play, but also allow rainwater to soak in right where it falls.

The 4th Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 13 – 15, 2019 in Denver. Learn more here.


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