Pedestrians and drivers along the 63rd Street Commercial Corridor in historic Overbrook Farms will get a treat this spring when the sidewalk planters built by the Overbrook Farms Club emerge from the snow and begin to bloom.
The landscape improvements were designed by Sara Pevaroff Schuh, Principal of SALT Design Studio and a regular Collaborative volunteer, as part of a larger effort by the Overbrook Farms Club (OFC) to enliven its neighborhood commercial corridor, which extends from City Line Avenue to Woodbine Avenue. The initial idea for the project came from a master plan for the corridor that Collaborative volunteers developed in 2007 to provide OFC with a vision for revitalization and strategies for beautification, façade improvements, and site identity.
After completing the master plan, OFC was able to secure a grant from The Reinvestment Fund to design and construct a landscape improvement on the sidewalk in front a parking lot just North of Sherwood Road on 63rd Street. The lot is the site of a farmer’s market that opened in 2008 in partnership with the Food Trust.
Schuh responded to the request for proposals and her firm was awarded the contract. “I like to do streetscapes and saw this as a great opportunity. I felt like this was a very pivotal piece for the corridor which needed to be implemented in order to get further funding and set design standards for the larger corridor,” said Schuh.
Before starting the project, Sara reviewed the Collaborative’s master plan to begin thinking about the design and to get an understanding of the neighborhood context. She wanted the sustainable design to play into the farmers market but also be a standalone element that creates an engaging intervention on the street.
The project was completed in December 2009 and features three stormwater planters built with granite stone walls that double as benches and are filled with native plants. According to Sara, the landscaping creates a welcoming feel to this new community amenity while serving important ecological functions, like water and air filtration.