Historic Germantown Greens Its HQ & Tackles Stormwater, Too

Levy DiCarlo Partners LLC
Courtyard behind Historic Germantown at 5501 Germantown Ave., before, left, and an artist's rendering of "after."

“Freedom’s Backyard: A Garden Reclaimed” Grand Opening & Fundraiser

Join Historic Germantown on Thursday, June 22, 5:30-7:30 p.m. for the official unveiling of the 5501 Germantown Ave. stormwater and landscaping project. For info and tickets, visit www.freedomsbackyard.com.

Margaret Fahringer, for the Shuttle

Historic Germantown has undertaken a project to provide beautiful new green space while improving stormwater runoff at 5501 Germantown Ave., the organization’s headquarters and the home of the Germantown Historical Society. 

Work is under way to remove approximately 4,642 square feet of asphalt in the courtyard and parking lot at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Church Lane and install grass and a rain garden. The resulting green space will be available for educational programming opportunities, workshops and special events. The rain garden will be visible from the street and will serve to soften the urban streetscape on Church Lane. Parking spots will be reduced from 14 to 12 (with plenty of street parking available). 

Historic Germantown is a partnership of 16 historic houses, destinations and museums in Northwest Philadelphia that have joined together to protect, preserve and share some of Philadelphia’s prized historical assets. 

The redesign and rebuild project, led by local landscape architect Claudia Levy of Levy DiCarlo Partners LLC, integrates Historic Germantown’s needs and manages stormwater runoff while contributing to the beautification of the neighborhood. The project has been funded through a $101,000 grant from the Philadelphia Water Department’s Stormwater Management Incentives Program, a GoFundMe effort and other grants. SMIP provides financial assistance to non-residential property owners to better manage stormwater.

Additional fundraising is being done for plantings for the rain garden and the beds in the courtyard through the Green Germantown GoFundMe Campaign. To donate, visit Historic Germantown’s website, www.freedomsbackyard.com, and click the GoFundMe link. HG has also received grants from the Philadelphia Committee of the Garden Club of America and the Environmental Committee of Weavers Way Co-op. 

A long-term goal is to establish a garden club of neighborhood volunteers who will help plant and maintain the rain garden. This is a great opportunity for Weavers Way members who want to be stewards of revitalization and preservation in Germantown. If you want to be part of the new volunteer Garden Club, contact Pilar Yeakel at 215-844-1683 or pyeakel@freedomsbackyard.com.

The grand opening of this new green space will be the highlight at Historic Germantown’s annual fundraiser on Thursday, June 22. The event, “Freedom’s Backyard: A Garden Reclaimed,” will feature keynote speaker Matt Rader, president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and music by jazz artist Monnette Sudler. Visit www.freedomsbackyard.com to learn more and to purchase tickets. 

Please come see this project, which will make a lasting contribution to reduction of stormwater pollution in our region’s watersheds. Come see how Historic Germantown is helping reduce stormwater pollution in our region.

Margaret Fahringer is a Weavers Way working member and a Historic Germantown volunteer.