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FRS Launches Major Phase of Lawn Restoration Project

Jan 22, 2024

PHILADELPHIA, January 22, 2024 - The Friends of Rittenhouse Square (FRS) is preparing for a brighter future and greener grass as the recipient of a new award from Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. This $200,000 grant will play a substantial role in funding their transformative Lawn Restoration Project in Rittenhouse Square, which will fully restore all 140,000 square feet of lawn over the next four years. This grant was made possible through the support of Senator Nikil Saval and Representative Benjamin Waxman. 

This Lawn Restoration Project is the newest improvement effort in Rittenhouse Square led by FRS, the nonprofit that works to preserve, protect, and beautify Rittenhouse Square. This new grant, along with ongoing support from their members, community, and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will help create healthy, resilient, and vibrant lawns throughout Rittenhouse Square. 

“As one of the oldest and most successful public spaces in the United States, Rittenhouse Square is the heritage of every Philadelphian,” said Senator Nikil Saval. Its tall trees, meandering bench-lined paths, and sweeping green lawns are instantly recognizable—iconic after 300 years of use, and welcoming to all. I am incredibly proud to have worked to secure an investment from our Commonwealth to support the efforts of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square to improve the health and vitality of this beloved park.”

"I'm incredibly pleased that the DCED has awarded the Friends of Rittenhouse Square the funding needed for their Lawn Restoration Project,” said Representative Ben Waxman. “Rittenhouse Square is a treasure of both Philadelphia and the Commonwealth, and this funding will go a long way to ensure that we can all enjoy the beauty of the Square for many years to come." 

“FRS is extremely grateful for Senator Saval’s and Representative Waxman’s help to make this new funding possible. This grant will be instrumental in realizing our vision to create a healthier, cleaner, and more beautiful Rittenhouse Square for all to enjoy,” said Laura LaRosa, Board President of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square. “We have learned a lot from the pilot phase of this project and are excited to continue improving and expanding our work throughout the Square with the funds now made available from DCED,” added Douglas Blonsky, Executive Board Member and Board Vice President of Landscapes and Operations for FRS, and former CEO and President of the Central Park Conservancy in New York. 

Work is being overseen by FRS staff members, June Armstrong, Director of Operations, and Joshua Darfler, Executive Director, and completed by BrightView Landscapes, a leading expert in landscape management. The next phase of work will begin this spring, leveraging  the knowledge gained from the 2023 pilot phase of the project. FRS would like to also thank their partners at Philadelphia’s Park and Recreation for their support in obtaining this new funding.

For more information about the Rittenhouse Lawn Restoration Project, to schedule a tour of the Square, or to help support the Friends of Rittenhouse Square’s efforts, please contact Joshua Darfler at or 215-586-5675.


About the Commonwealth Financing Authority

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth. Unique among state agencies in structure and scope, the CFA consists of seven Board members: four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget and Department of Banking and Securities. Project approval requires five affirmative votes, four of which must come from legislative appointees.

About Friends of Rittenhouse Square

The Friends of Rittenhouse Square (FRS) is a 510(c)3 nonprofit and membership organization founded in 1976 to protect, preserve, and beautify Rittenhouse Square. FRS manages daily operations, programs, and capital projects for the Square. Work includes the restoration of the Square’s lawns, the design and installation of the Square’s 160 new benches, hosting annual community events, and regular upkeep and maintenance of this beloved park.


Click here to learn how you can support the Lawn Restoration Project

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