The site was the Salvation Army's Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Philadelphia. Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's restaurants, and his wife, Joan, gave the Salvation Army over $1 billion to build community centers in severely disadvantaged urban neighborhoods across the country. I'm not much of a fan of the Salvation Army (because of their discriminatory practices) and everyone has an opinion about McDonald's. Our tour leader, Chris, shared my opinions about both organizations, but he conceded that the community center was a godsend for the impoverished neighborhood in which it was located and he commended the Salvation Army for its good deeds here.
The site had been a lightly-contaminated brownfield associated with the Budd Manufacturing Company, one of Philadelphia's largest employers when manufacturing was king. Budd's thousands of workers built zeppelin gondolas, railroad cars, and airplane parts. Today, the factory buildings are vacant, derelict and marred by graffiti. The 13-acre Kroc site had been a parking lot for Budd's workers.
When the Salvation Army decided to locate the community center on the site, they hired the local but widely-renowned landscape architecture firm Andropogon (named for a genus of native grasses) to design the landscape. With Philadelphia's extremely strict stormwater management regulations, the Salvation Army insisted that the designed landscape capture, retain, and infiltrate as much water as possible. Andropogon's designers also decided to make the project "zero waste" - no material would be removed from the site.
All of the existing parking lot pavement was either recycled to be reused for porous pavement on the new parking lot or was spread to level the site. Slightly contaminated soil was buried deep under the site and encased in compacted soil.
|Roof stormwater management system|
|Cleverly disguised downspouts and decorative runnels|
|Tour leader Chris demonstrating the capacity of the runnels|
|Sculpted runnel designed to look like flowing water|
|Students standing at he edge of Rain Garden A that receives the discharge from the roof cisterns|
|Rain Garden B on right of path|
|Last stop. Rain Garden C, which can handle the overflow from A and B, if necessary.|