Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saylor's Grove

Roughly triangular in shape, the three acre island of parkland know as Saylor's Grove is defined by Lincoln Drive, Wissahickon Avenue, and Rittenhouse Street. High-rise apartment buildings loom overhead, and traffic whooshes around its perimeter constantly. And if you're jonesing for a cup of coffee before stepping down into this fragile basin, the shiny Sunoco-cum-QuickieMart abutting the eastern border of the park will suffice.

Nonetheless, Saylor's Grove stands as an example of natural restoration within the urban environment. Described as the city's first storm water-treatment wetland, the five year project that converted the largely abandoned park into a vital natural oasis was an answer to growing concerns over the contamination of the Monoshone, or Paper Mill run, which flows into the Wissahickon.

I don't know what the success metrics are, or what, if any, studies are being conducted to determine if they are being met. But I imagine that if the City does not continue to support this project, Saylor's Grove will soon revert back into a neglected backyard of the park system, and the half million dollars spent on it's refurbishment will have been wasted.

On the particular day in late February, however, when this photo was taken, there was no real reason to presume that Saylor's Grove would not continue to be a success. Given the quality of light, and the ducks and the cattails in the pond, it was probably best not to presume at all, and just enjoy the day.

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