North Light Community Center (NLCC) and Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC) asked the Collaborative for a conceptual plan to enhance NLCC’s play space. The two Northwest Philadelphia nonprofits saw potential for the play space to support the goals of MDC's Destination Schuylkill River project: celebrating life along the Schuylkill River and connecting communities to the river.
Just a few months into the project, NLCC received a grant from KABOOM! for playground improvements. The Colllaborative’s community task force meetings helped NLCC identify construction priorities—new play equipment and an outdoor classroom pavilion—and reserve the right location for a future rain garden.
The Collaborative team returned to a dramatically different play space—tasked with tying the old and new elements together, managing stormwater, and sharing lessons about the watershed and the surrounding environment.
In their brilliant conceptual plan, a “rain poem path” winds between play and learning areas… and even up the wall at the center’s entrance. The text of the poem will form a walking path that celebrates the environment, unifies the space, and serves as a memorial to student who loved reading and poetry.
A rain garden with a boardwalk will run along the rear, Carson Street edge of the play area. It will manage stormwater, provide an attractive green border to the neighborhood, and work in tandem with a new outdoor environmental learning lab.