Lanier Park is a massive patch of green space in the Grays Ferry neighborhood at 2900 Tasker St., taking up an entire city block on the edge of the Greater Grays Ferry Estates PHA development. The park is a wonderful resource for the neighborhood in theory, but like many public green spaces in Philadelphia, it’s worn down and has been functioning well below its potential. Also like many public green spaces in Philadelphia, it’s currently leveraging available dollars for stormwater management to help fund a major makeover. We passed by the park within the last couple days, and discovered heavy construction activity on Tasker Street.
The major stormwater component of the project is the installation of a massive subsurface storage basin underneath the baseball field. The main purpose of this storage basin is to hold rainwater so it can slowly be absorbed into the soil rather than run off into the sewer drains. This will help protect the overburdened Philadelphia sewer system, which overflows into the Schuylkill River when it experiences too much volume. Rainwater runoff into the river is bad enough, considering the fact that the streets are rather dirty. Considering that the sewer system includes waste water from homes as well, it’s a no brainer to push for as much stormwater management infrastructure as possible.
As we said though, stormwater management is only part of the plan for Lanier Park. Major renovation work is dovetailing with the stormwater management component and will include a playground, dog parks for large and small dogs, a picnic area, a walking path, water features, and a Fitness Zone area, according to the Trust For Public Land. It’s expected that the project will wrap up over the summer, which should give kids in the neighborhood the chance to enjoy the newly renovated park while school is out of session. Further, a story from Philadelphia Neighborhoods indicates that this park has been a “dividing line” in the neighborhood between two parts of the community. There’s a real hope in Grays Ferry that a revived Lanier Park will function as a bridge in the neighborhood, and act as a space that will be welcoming for everyone. Kudos to the Grays Ferry Civic Association; we look forward to seeing the park when work wraps up.