May 7, 2015 1:30 pm

TD Bank Awards $20K to Green Lea Elementary

The West Philadelphia-based school is the primary focus of an all-volunteer group, West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools

TD Bank has awarded $20,000 to support “Greening Lea,” a multiyear initiative established by the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools to improve the grounds of Lea Elementary, located at 47th and Locust Streets. Along with TD Bank, the project is largely being supported by a $242,000 grant from the Philadelphia Water Department and contributions from other funders, businesses and individuals.

Greening Lea is a comprehensive greening and stormwater management project to transform the school’s 41,000-square-foot asphalt lot — a highly visible landmark — into a desirable gathering and playspace for the school and neighborhood. Lea’s 525 students speak 10 different languages, and 93 percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

The project is also a “visual way to represent that people are taking an interest in the school,” said Julie Scott, co-chair of Greening Lea at the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools.

The West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools, an all-volunteer organization that has been focused on Lea since 2010, promotes “the whole idea that neighborhood schools need to be strengthened by the community,” Scott said.

In November 2012, the pilot phase of the project added a 1,4000-square-foot planting bed, complete with trees, shrubs and bulbs, to the playground. Last year, the large play structure from shuttered Wilson Elementary was moved to Lea. A bouncy, brightly hued rubber surface was installed beneath.

According to Scott, the next phase of development at Lea, slated for July, involves the addition of rain gardens, a tree bosque, and an underground stormwater management system.

Image via West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools


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