Natural Lands, Partners Receive PA Park & Recreation Society Award For Coatesville Park Revitalization

On July 6, Natural Lands announced the organization has been awarded the Green and Sustainable Parks award from the PA Recreation and Parks Society which honors Natural Lands’ work-- along with partners Brandywine Health Foundation and the City of Coatesville, Chester County---to revitalize Coatesville’s Palmer Park.

Once considered the “Pittsburgh of the East” because of its then-thriving steel industry, Coatesville has faced the same economic and social challenges that other steel towns have experienced following the industry’s decline.

At Palmer Park, a one-acre neighborhood park on the east end of Coatesville, the City’s challenges were evident. A chain-link fence and barbed wire surrounded a swimming pool that had been closed for more than a decade.

Today, this section of Palmer Park has been transformed, a revitalization made possible through the Greening Coatesville initiative: a partnership of the City of Coatesville, Brandywine Health Foundation, and Natural Lands.

The old pool has been replaced by a unique nature and water play area that includes a splashpad, a man-made stream, and wading area. There is now a circular plaza surrounded by benches where neighbors can relax and watch the children play.

From the plaza, a series of concrete paths wind through the park past inviting grassy areas, newly planted shade trees, scattered boulders, and several “nature play” features.

Palmer Park’s new design reduced the amount of impervious hardscaping and includes rain gardens to collect site runoff and help filter and recharge the groundwater. The water play system includes a recirculating pump to reduce wasted water. And all the plants installed at Palmer Park are native species. 

“The PA Recreation and Parks Society is pleased to present their 2020 Green and Sustainable Parks award to Natural Lands for their efforts in the revitalization of Palmer Park,” said Barry Bessler, chairman of the  PRPS Recognition and Awards Committee. “The PRPS Green and Sustainable Park award is presented annually to recognize excellence in the public park community for those agencies that demonstrate the integration of green and sustainable development and maintenance practices. The work of Natural Lands, Brandywine Health Foundation and the city of Coatesville to rejuvenate this one-acre community park is an exemplary model of design and vision to create a public space worthy of receiving this award.”

Better access to parks has been shown to result in a 25 percent increase in people exercising three or more days per week.

In southeastern PA, a study found more than $1.3 billion in avoided annual health costs due to access to parks and open space.

Parks have also been demonstrated to improve community safety by reducing crime and violence in the vicinity. 

“The revitalization of Palmer Park is proof that wonderful things can be accomplished when the community, businesses, and government come together,” noted Oliver Bass, president of Natural Lands. “This new playground offers an innovative opportunity for people to play and learn about important environmental issues that affect Coatesville.”

Community parks like Palmer Park are vital for connecting children-- and their caregivers-- to nature. In its new, revitalized form, Palmer Park is seeing an increase in visitors.

By incorporating nature play elements, Palmer Park brings a bit of the natural world to the City of Coatesville.

Additional support for the revitalization of Palmer Park has come from: American Water Charitable Foundation, ArcelorMittal, Chester County, Citadel, the National Recreation and Park Association, Shreiner Tree Care, The Walt Disney Company’s Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces Program, and gifts to Natural Lands’ Campaign for Humans and Nature.

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Natural Lands website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from Natural Lands and Like them on FacebookClick Here to support their activities.

Related Articles This Week - Recreation:

-- DCNR Good Natured Pennsylvanians: Tim Herd, PA Recreation & Park Society

-- DCNR Good Natured Blog: A Greater Appreciation For Parks & Recreation

-- Bay Journal: COVID Lockdown Unleashes Swarms Of Visitors At Parks, Trails

-- DCNR Highlights Economic Importance Of Outdoor Recreation Industry At Organic Climbing In Centre County

-- PA Wilds Makers Market, Find Your Next Locally-Sourced WILD Thing!

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-- Penn State Extension: Tick, Lyme Disease, Tick-Borne Illnesses Thursday Webinar Series

-- Op-Ed: PA's Howard Zahniser Should Be Included In National Garden Of American Heroes

-- July 8 Resource Newsletter Now Available From DCNR

-- July 10 Take Five Fridays With Pam, PA Parks & Forests Foundation

-- PA Environmental Council In Case You Missed It In June Now Available

Related Articles This Week - Land Conservation:

-- Eden Hill Conservancy Donates Conservation Easements On 207 Acres In Huntingdon County -- To Western PA Conservancy

-- Allegheny Land Trust Protects 155 Acres In Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County

-- Westmoreland Conservancy Expands King Reserve By 26 Acres

-- Natural Lands Helps Add 14 Acres To Nockamixon State Park In Bucks County

-- Powdermill Nature Reserve In Westmoreland County Receives $1 Million Avian Research Grant From Mellon Foundation

-- Brandywine Conservancy Seeks Public Input On Birmingham Hill Preserve

-- Pocono Heritage Land Trust To Merge With Pocono Avian Research Center In Monroe County

-- PA Clean Water Academy: Learn More About Streamside Buffers

-- Wildlands Conservancy: Land Protection 101, Bat Counts, Other Programs Coming Up!

[Posted: July 6, 2020]


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