The project was finished within its budget, which consists of a $500,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation, a $70,000 state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant given to the Philadelphia Water Department and a $30,000 federal Coastal Zone grant to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which led the civic engagement for the project.
To put that $600,000 in perspective, it will cost about $4.5 million to build a more traditional civic space out of the Race Street Pier
, also about an acre, Forken said. That park is expected to open this coming spring.
Washington Avenue Green is designed to be seem more natural than stylized.
Up until work started about a month ago
, the entire area was a parking lot, covered with about six inches of concrete. Most of that concrete has been replaced with impervious surfaces and native plants that will help better manage rainwater. A picnic table and benches will go in one of the two spots that remains intact.
Washington Avenue Green is confined to the upland portion of the site. The pier itself, which is covered with large trees and brush, was not touched in this project.
The other large slab of concrete that remains is directly across from the pier. If a future project makes the pier into part of the park, the slab will become the access point, Biohabitats
landscape architect Adam Ganser said. In the nearer future, it may serve as a base for large-scale artwork, he said.
Large square blocks made from some of the concrete that was removed has been stacked into a seating wall that overlooks one of two dendritic decay gardens, which are places where the concrete has been cut up, and grasses and flowers planted in those cracks and holes. Given enough time, the plants will further break apart the concrete.
Both of the decay gardens, and some other elements of the park, were designed by artist Stacy Levy
The garden near the seating wall looks a bit like mini moon craters with plants inside. They are arranged to represent one of the Delaware's tributaries that have been forced underground. The stream-like pattern continues to the black, permeable asphalt of the multi-purpose trail that winds through the park and will eventually tie into the East Coast Greenway. At the trail, the plant-filled craters give way to blue glass pebbles that even on a cloudy day suggested the glint of water. The symbolic stream continues past the trail in a fixed torrent of rock.