Not far from the boundary of Southwest Philadelphia, the Delaware County suburb of Lansdowne has some problems in common with its urban neighbor, including improving access to green space.
Hoffman Park, located in Lansdowne on flood-prone Darby Creek, is getting a makeover through the efforts of the Lansdowne Borough and the pro bono design work of the Community Design Collaborative.
At eight acres, the park is the biggest of eleven parks in Lansdowne. It includes rock cliffs, a train bridge towering overhead, direct access to the Darby Creek and a pavilion. There are also woods bordering the creek, “allowing excellent vantage points along a newly installed trail and ball fields,” said Craig Totaro, borough manager for Lansdowne.
Lansdowne is on track to issue Request for Proposals for the construction of the Hoffman Park re-design this week, or shortly after, according to Totaro. The winning proposal will be responsible for carrying out the vision created by Lansdowne Borough and the volunteer design firms organized by the Community Design Collaborative, which include Otto Architects LLC and ThinkGreen LLC.
The borough will be looking to renovate an open-air pavilion that was built in the 1960s. “The pavilion is in need of rehabilitation due to a poor original design and age,” Totaro said.
Totaro hopes that the re-configured pavilion will be a better fit for the park, which itself underwent work to protect against flooding from Darby Creek in 2012. In addition, the redesign will make the park wheelchair accessible, create new pedestrian paths and bolster landscaping.
The organizations volunteering on behalf of the Community Design Collaborative also recommended the construction of a second pavilion, which would house public bathrooms, a snack bar, and sports equipment storage. However, Totaro said the borough does not currently have enough money to include another pavilion.
However, Totaro was thankful for the Design Collaborative’s work. “The CDC [Community Design Collaborative] provided an efficient and visionary plan that was both practical and attentive to the needs of a multi-purpose park and park facilities,” he said.
Hoffman Park was the second project Lansdowne Borough did with the assistance of the Collaborative. They also worked together on the Twentieth Century Club, near the Lansdowne train station.
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The upcoming work on Hoffman Park will be partially paid for by a $185,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. It was one of five grants issued by the Community Conservation Partnerships Program to Delaware County in December 2013. The remainder of the work will be paid for by matching local funds.
Photo via Parks, Recreation and Open Space section of Lansdowne Comprehensive Plan-30-
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