Right now, the strip of landscaping that runs along Bainbridge Street between 3rd and 5th Streets is just that, a strip of landscaping that some might call a park. It's already a nice brief glimpse of green in a city neighborhood, but the Friends of Bainbridge Green have bigger plans.
They envision to beautify the strip and turn it into a park that will serve as an environmentally sustainable animated community space that can serve as an outdoor link between Queen Village, South Street Headhouse District, Fabric Row, Bella Vista and Washington Square West. On October 21 FOBG are hosting Dancing Under the Stars, a fundraiser for that mission. The night will transform Bainbridge Green into a dinner, dancing and food-truck festival, to kick-off efforts towards a $100K fundraising goal. The night offers two options, a sit-down plated dinner by Southwark, ELA and OX Coffee, for $125; or food trucks and beer ($30) from Brauhaus Schmitz, Nomad Pizza and others; and all of it al fresco, with jazz music to set the scene, and a landscaped space by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. It's a new kind of night market, with a sustainable goal.
Center to the evening, which also includes retail, will be a tree, which will stand as a symbol of sustainable growth. “The tree is the ultimate metaphor for a fundraiser,” according to FOBG. “It suggests a very complex organism which requires individual leaves to gather sunlight to convert into energy, branches and the trunk to deliver needed moisture, and, most importantly, a complex root system that attaches the tree to the earth and provides water and nutrients for the tree to grow and thrive.” Names of donors will be put on a donor tree.
If you can imagine Bainbridge Green as a whole, and think of it as a tree, and the community it around it the sunlight and the water, you can understand what FOBG is getting at, and what they envision this space to be. Their efforts were thrust forward last summer when FOBG received two separate grants to beautify the space on the heels of a Fabric Row fire. That money helped green a section at 3rd Street.
It's always interesting to see how much of a dynamic impact small improvements like these, which seem like they would only make a little difference, can have. We are reminded of the Pedestrian Plazas rolled in West Philly, like Baltimore Crossing, which was an underused piece of road at 48th & Baltimore that University City District transformed into an urban enclave with planters and seats. On a nice autumn afternoon, we can see it full of people who didn't have this kind of space before. So we are excited to see what shall become of Bainbridge Green and hope the fundraiser is a smashing success.