FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2023
Contact: Friends of Rittenhouse Square, firstname.lastname@example.org, 267-586-5675
Friends of Rittenhouse Square Breaks Ground on a
New Lawn Restoration Project in Rittenhouse
PHILADELPHIA - Today, on the first day of spring, the Friends of Rittenhouse Square broke ground on a new lawn restoration project in Rittenhouse Square Park, the first in over two decades. This project, which will be completed over the next 4-5 years, will help establish new lush and healthy grass for decades to come and for all to enjoy.
For nearly 50 years, the Friends of Rittenhouse Square (FRS) has had a mission to preserve, protect and beautify Rittenhouse Square Park in Center City. As a member-supported, non-profit organization, the group has worked tirelessly to champion the needs of Rittenhouse Square and to generate the support necessary for the ongoing maintenance of, and improvements to, the park. Rittenhouse Square is now celebrated for its beautiful landscaping, clean environment, and thoughtful care of its historic trees and statues, all of which is made possible through the generosity of neighbors, friends, and members.
“Rittenhouse Square is one of the most iconic places in Philadelphia, and is enjoyed by tens of thousands of people every year,” said Laura LaRosa, Board President, Friends of Rittenhouse Square. “This will be the most comprehensive lawn restoration project in the history of the park, and we feel this work is essential for creating a vibrant and healthy center city.”
Today, FRS has begun the work of fully restoring the lawns of Rittenhouse Square Park. The work is being completed by BrightView Landscapes, a leading expert in landscape management, which has completed similar restoration projects on Philadelphia’s Independence National Historic Park and the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
BrightView’s work for this new project includes aerating 10-12 inches below the surface, adding soil amendments to improve the soil quality and prevent future compaction, and re-grading the space to prevent water pooling and runoff before finally planting new grass. Additional work will include completing necessary repairs and upgrades to the lawn irrigation system and installing protective mulch rings around the large trees.
“BrightView is pleased to partner with Friends of Rittenhouse Square to help restore and preserve such a historic Philadelphia landmark,” said Jamie Gollotto, President, BrightView Seasonal Maintenance Services. “Our dedicated experts have the knowledge and resources to ensure the public will be able to enjoy this space for years to come.”
Friends of Rittenhouse is also working with BrightView Landscapes to research and identify proper grass species to plant. The goal is to select species that can thrive in Center City Philadelphia. Given the heavy use of the area and the challenges posed by a changing climate, grass species that are more prevalent further south, such as in Virginia, are being considered and will be evaluated throughout the project.
BrightView Landscapes began work today on a test plot on the South end of the Square and is then scheduled to rotate through the entire square over the next couple of years to complete this important lawn revitalization work. While sections are being remediated, they will be closed to the public to allow for the new grass to properly establish, but ample lawn space will be kept open for the public to enjoy at any given time.
In the decades since this last restoration, the lawns of Rittenhouse Square have become increasingly barren, and their health has been rapidly deteriorating. This is primarily caused by the severe soil compaction prevalent throughout the park - preventing the proper penetration of water, nutrients, and oxygen into the soils. In a healthy lawn, grass roots can be found as deep as 12 inches below the surface, allowing them to store resources and then quickly regrow after being damaged. The current state of the soils, however, prevents grass from fully establishing roots, thus making them easily destroyed.
Rittenhouse Square has many fans but can always use more Friends! With the help of members and supporters, FRS works tirelessly to oversee both the daily upkeep and the long term improvements that are crucial to Rittenhouse Square’s success. The organization encourages everyone to help preserve, protect, and beautify Rittenhouse Square by becoming a member or by visiting their website: www.friendsofrittenhouse.org.