In sum, the first step to revitalizing Gold Star Park is to remove the now defunct tennis/basketball court that encompasses roughly one-fourth of the park, the northwest corner quadrant. This has been used as an informal dog run, leaving unsanitary conditions that have left discontent among neighbors. With assistance from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) and the Community Design Collaborative, a task force of neighbors has developed a concept master plan establishing a long term design of the park.
The first physical renovation of this plan is to remove approximately 6,200 square feet of asphalt for the installation of perimeter trees, shrubs, and native plantings. The remaining area will be grassed over until a second phase begins; however, a majority of this area is proposed for grass at completion. The eight foot high chain link fence would be removed for the installation of approximately 175 linear feet of ornamental 3’ high fence around the edge to prevent accidents, as the there is a grade difference of about two feet. The removal of the chain link fence, asphalt area, soil preparation, and plantings should be complete within six months from inception to final volunteer planting event. The overall goal of the project is to harness energy, enthusiasm, and positive feelings among neighbors for each other and the park.
First, a main portion of the installation is proposed to be native plant material, which will be low maintenance, and may only need occasional weeding and trimming. Outreach with the Philadelphia Water Department as part of this project is proposed, if awarded, to coordinate best plantings. The trees will be maintained using “treegators” and coordinated weekly watering during the summer months. A dedicated Friends group has monthly clean ups and summer weekly waterings for previously plantings until established.
The need for green space is no greater anywhere in the City of Philadelphia than South Philadelphia. Though the proposed project is small in size, only about 6,000 square feet, the benefits would be felt by many as this is one of the densest parts of the city. Though Center City may be denser, this area of the city contains with more families, more immigrants, and more under-income populations.
DOWNLOAD THE PLAN at Gold Star Park Master Plan
Having Trouble opening it? A hard copy is available at Benna’s Café (8th & Wharton)
Gold Star Park has numerous mature Sycamore trees located primarily along the perimeter. On the northeast side of the park is a large, but deteriorating, lawn. The park also has four planting beds which are maintained by the community; two of the beds are located on either corner on Wharton Street and feature roses that are much-loved by the neighbors. At the center of the park is a play structure on poured-in-place safety surface. In the past, there were swings in the play area as well; however they were removed several years ago when they fell into disrepair. The northwest corner contains a decommissioned basketball court surrounded by an 8-foot high chain link fence. The area was used as an off-leash dog run, which created sanitary and odor problems for park users and neighbors who live directly across from the park. Residents petitioned to have three segments of the fence removed to prevent this from happening, which has been a successful measure in preventing the area from being used in this manner. A shed used for tools and equipment is located next to the basketball court, across from the play area. On the southern end of the park is a second large paved area, which is often used for tai-chi or as a rehearsal space. The park is encircled by an 18-24 inch concrete curb. A three foot high, black metal picket fence sits on top of the curb along all sides, except the northwest corner by the basketball court. Approximately half the park is paved in asphalt, much of which is in disrepair. Compacted soils, rubble from the former building, and overuse by dogs and people make it difficult for plants to grow. Trash is an additional problem; it is picked up infrequently and many use the park trash receptacles for household waste, which results in overflowing receptacles and offensive odors.