Nature and Water Playground Comes to Coatesville
Day of Volunteer Service Capped by Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Community Celebration
COATESVILLE, Pa., May 14, 2019 – On a brisk spring day, a group of enthusiastic volunteers set about moving mulch and planting in an effort to complete the installation of a unique new nature and water playground at Palmer Park in Coatesville, PA. The water and play area is made possible through the Greening Coatesville initiative: a partnership of the City of Coatesville, Brandywine Health Foundation, and Natural Lands. Coatesville was one of three communities selected nationwide in 2017 to receive a $150,000 Building Better Communities Grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
“We recognize that in order for anything to qualify as a gift, it must be given, and as the summer is soon approaching, we’re eternally grateful for this gift and will ensure that it keeps on giving,” says Linda Lavender-Norris, Coatesville City Council president. “We salute the American Water Charitable Foundation, Brandywine Health Foundation, Natural Lands, City staff, and the many other partners involved for an awesome collaboration.”
“At American Water, we are committed to being a good corporate neighbor and contributing to the communities where our employees and our customers live, work and play,” said Carrie Williams, president, American Water Charitable Foundation. “There’s no better example of this commitment than helping to restore Palmer Park, and our support reflects how much we believe in enabling young people to interact with and appreciate our water resources.”
Palmer Park is a one-acre neighborhood park on the east end of Coatesville. Its new play space, which was designed with input from the community, is replacing a long-closed swimming pool with an innovative approach to promoting natural play and environmental stewardship.
The new play area includes a splash pad space with seven water features that feed into a short, man-made stream that leads to a shallow, rock-lined wading area. The top of the stream originates in a circular plaza surrounded by benches. In addition, there are seven “nature play” features, including an embankment slide, a post hop, web climber, tension line, log balance, stump jump, and branch climber. The splash pad—sure to be a highlight for local children this summer—was turned on for the first time during the event and will open for the season on Memorial Day weekend.
“Introducing a nature and water playground in the city of Coatesville is a wonderful way to revitalize our parks while transforming the health of individuals and community. A healthy environment brings community together,” says Vanessa Briggs, president/CEO of the Brandywine Health Foundation.
Positive changes in urban parks and green spaces play a role in economic revitalization. Cities where parks, recreation, and trails play a vital role in the lives of their residents are vibrant places to live and are, therefore, attractive to businesses and residents.
“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. We are particularly grateful to the American Water Charitable Foundation, NRPA, Chester County, and our other supporters for encouraging environmental stewardship by investing in nature play.”
“Today’s ribbon-cutting marks an incredible achievement by many community partners, and I am proud to stand among them,” said Pennsylvania American Water President Jeffrey McIntyre. “So many individuals and organizations have come together to make Palmer Park’s revitalization possible, and what could be more rewarding than providing children and families with this beautiful place to play, relax, and learn about our precious water resources.”
For information about the Building Better Communities program, visit https://amwater.com/corp/customers-and-communities/american-water-charitable-foundation/signature-program.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, representatives of the Brandywine YMCA and Citadel unveiled a special art project that appears on the splash play surface only when it’s wet. The painting is being used to provide educational messages about keeping the community’s water clean and can be changed each season.
Construction of the nature and water play area marks the first phase of implementation of the revitalization plan for the entire park. A community advisory committee helped to guide the planning process and several public meetings offered opportunities for neighborhood input. The plan was supported by grants from the Chester County Vision Partnership Program, ArcelorMittal, and Chester County Community Foundation. Chester County has also provided funds for implementation of the nature and water play area.
Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Kathi Cozzone, and Terence Farrell noted, “Palmer Park’s new look and function is a wonderful addition to the city! It has been highly anticipated by Coatesville families since the plans were revealed and the ground was broken, and today is certainly a cause for celebration. Great things are happening in Coatesville and we are pleased to be included as partners in the many projects that are moving this community forward.”
This project also received support from NRPA and The Walt Disney Company’s Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces Program, ArcelorMittal, Citadel, Shreiner Tree Care, and gifts to Natural Lands’ Campaign for Humans and Nature.
Mae Axelrod, Media Relations Manager
610-353-5587 ext. 400
About Greening Coatesville: The Greening Coatesville initiative was launched in 2016 by the City of Coatesville, Brandywine Health Foundation, and Natural Lands, in order to improve access to inviting outdoor spaces, encourage healthy activity, and build community cohesion. It is guided by Coatesville Parks 2021: An Action Plan for Thriving Parks and Healthy People, which was developed with broad public input. In addition to the revitalization of Palmer Park, the partners have worked with the community to build a new playground in in the city’s Patton Park (made possible by PECO) and has helped to launch new Friends groups to help maintain and program the park.
The American Water Charitable Foundation was established in 2010 with a founding contribution from American Water, the American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to being a good neighbor, citizen, and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate. The Foundation helps support American Water employee-identified nonprofit endeavors. More information about the Foundation can be found at amwater.com
Pennsylvania American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.4 million people. With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to more than 14 million people in 46 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.
Natural Lands is dedicated to preserving and nurturing nature’s wonders while creating opportunities for joy and discovery in the outdoors for everyone. As the Greater Philadelphia region’s oldest and largest land conservation organization, Natural Lands has preserved more than 125,000 acres, including 43 nature preserves totaling more than 23,000 acres. Some 2.5 million people live within five miles of land under the organization’s protection. Land for life, nature for all. natlands.org.
The Brandywine Health Foundation has distributed over $17 million in grants and scholarships, and provides resources and leadership, bringing the community together to increase access to health care for everyone, to help young people grow up safe and successful, and to build a vibrant and healthier Coatesville. To learn more about the Brandywine Health Foundation visit www.brandywinefoundation.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.