The Big Reveal: First Designs of the Ridge Avenue Pocket Park

Groundeswell Design Group | Courtesy of Roxborough Developer Corporation

Groundswell Design Group | Courtesy of Roxborough Development Corporation

The landscape design gods at Groundswell Design Group are working their magic in Roxborough and the proof is in the first designs of the proposed Ridge Avenue Pocket Park, unveiled last week during a community meeting with local residents. Check ’em out in the gallery below and be sure let us know what you think in the comments!

According to a press release from the Roxborough Development Corporation, the neighborhood group working in tandem with Groundswell on the project, the park is set to have stadium style seating, a wall mural, movie area, and an “artistic entrance.” A rain garden boardwalk is also in the works, with the aim of allowing pedestrians “to experience unique moments” as they make their way through the park. Gardens and circulation paths “that create feelings of smaller spaces at the site” will also be incorporated.

What’s more, integral to the design of the pocket park are elements of sustainability. Aside from the rain garden boardwalk, Groundswell has proposed including native trees, perennials, shrubs, and grasses as soil-water-plant systems. These would be used purify potential storm water runoff from the Schuylkill.

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Groundswell to Unveil Schematic Design for Ridge Avenue Pocket Park

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Images courtesy of the Roxborough Development Corporation

Mark your calendars, Roxborough denizens: Groundswell Design Group has set a date for the unveiling of the Ridge Avenue Pocket Park schematic design!

As previously reported, Groundswell was tapped to come up with a design concept for the proposed pocket park at 6170-72 Ridge Avenue, currently a vacant lot. The design is just about done and a recent press release from the Roxborough Development Corporation announced it will be unveiled to neighbors Wednesday, August 5th.

According to the release, the meeting will be held at 6:00pm inside the formerly vacant Allison Building, an adjacent structure that was rehabbed and now has two tenants. It’s worth noting the soon-to-be-made-public preliminary schematic design was shaped by neighbor feedback through a survey taken at the first community meeting and an online questionnaire.

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Headlines: Groundswell Design Group Entrusted with Next Phase in Proposed Pocket Park Project

Image via Google Street View

Image via Google Street View

Are you a fan of Spruce Street Harbor Park? Apparently, Groundswell Design Group, the firm responsible for the popular outdoor space, has been hit up by the Roxborough Development Corporation to come up with design concepts for the proposed Ridge Avenue Pocket Park, a hoped-for neighborhood green space at 6170-72 Ridge Avenue.

The site consists of parking lot and the formerly vacant Allison Building, since redeveloped by RDC and now occupied by two upper floor tenants.

PlanPhilly’s Alan Jaffe has the scoop:

Taking on the next phase of the park plan is Groundswell Design Group, a firm whose recent projects have included Spruce Street Harbor Park, Winterfest, The Porch @ 30th Street Station, and portions of Dilworth Plaza. At the meeting, Groundswell designer Rob Brady, who lived in Roxborough for three years, said the firm would bring its experience in creating “activation spaces” to the Ridge Avenue project. He and Groundswell colleague Kyle Blackwell said their goal is to gather the “needs, likes and desires” of the community and return with design concepts.

Emphasis ours.

The meeting Jaffe is referring to is the “informal community meeting” that took place this past Thursday. According to him, residents presented their vision for the proposed space so that the Groundswell team might be well informed as to the desires of the neighborhood when going about this next phase. He adds that an online survey that gauged park ideas from some 200 residents was also conducted prior to this gathering. The concepts, as well as neighborhood feedback, are expected for the next meeting.


Plus, Northeast Philly is getting…

Northeast Philly is getting what?? Yes, folks, we’re getting two (hey, it’s a start) protected bike lanes! From Citified:

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Wissahickon Native Plans to Preserve the Benjamin Kenworthy House

365 Green Lane, via Google Street View

365 Green Lane, via Google Street View

Here’s some good news on the preservations front as we head into 2015. Newsworks reports that Roger Ross, a 34 year-old Wissahickon native and Roxborough resident, has purchased the Benjamin Kenworthy House at 365 Green Lane– a property seen as the gateway between Manayunk and Roxborough.

It’s significant because the previous owner, Todd Joseph, was locked in a battle with nearby residents over plans to tear down the home in favor of eight units. Basically, neighbors didn’t want this  property to go the way of the historic Bunting House, which is currently a vacant lot but could’ve very well been turned into a Wendy’s.

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Pierogie Kitchen to the Side Dish Rescue


If you’re still bogged down with the task of bringing a side dish to your family’s Thanksgiving meal and you have yet to decide on what you’re bringing, Pierogie Kitchen’s seasonal options may sway you towards an Eastern European flair.

Located at 648 Roxborough Avenue and celebrating its eleventh anniversary, the restaurant and store offers 29 styles of pierogies, some more fitting for Thanksgiving than others.

Among the seasonal options are Prune (butter, sugar, prunes), Blue Crab (lump crabmeat, blend of cheeses and seasoning), Kielbasa and Kraut, and Potato Sweet Cabbage (50/50 blend of potato and sweet cabbage) pierogies are available for the holidays, but old favorites such as the Buffalo Bleu Chicken pierogie and Philly Cheesesteak pierogie are for sale as well.

Pierogie Kitchen [Official]

Amazing Transformations: Adaptive Reuse of Northwest Philly Church

 All photos by Laura Kicey

All photos by Laura Kicey

Property photographer Laura Kicey has been chronicling the evolution of the former Fourth Reformed Church since 2012. First came the photo essay of church ruins for Hidden City. Think of this as the “before” shots as the church lay mouldering at the corner of Manayunk and Monastery in Roxborough. Today we get the glorious “afters” in two galleries displaying what developer Andy Thomas has done with the space since acquiring it in March, 2011.

For a taste of what Thomas was dealing with, behold a peek at what the site looked like in 2012, holes in the roof, horrifying bathroom and all.

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Dalessandro’s Versus Chubby’s


As we promised, 2014 is the Year of the Cheesesteak. And as part of the continuing coverage of the cheesesteak, we will be profiling cheesesteak rivalries around town. 

When GQ’s Alan Richman came to town to rank his ten favorite cheesesteaks, one of the biggest complaints was the omission of Dalessandro’s Steaks in Roxborough. According to Ray Didinger, who went along with Richman on his cheesesteak hunt, Richman had eliminated the Roxborough stalwart from his list based upon a previous cheesesteak visit to Philadelphia.

Sunday, I set out with a couple of friends, including comedian Chip Chantry, to try both Dalessandro’s and Chubby’s across the street. Check out the results of our first Rivalry Tale of the Tape.

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Morning Headlines: Eataly Comes to Philly; 38Chestnut Breaks Ground, Without a Space

Radnor Property Group renderings of 38Chestnut.

Radnor Property Group renderings of 38Chestnut.

We have a lot of headlines this morning, so let’s get to it. First of all, to clarify: 38Chestnut will indeed have a space (that being 38th and Chestnut) but its name does not have a space. Think of it as an Apple-minted building and you’ll be all right.

• Foobooz reports that Mario Batali is bringing his food haven, Eataly, to Philly next year and that it may be the old Strawbridge and Clothiers. shares the ironically-titled Philly is Ugly, a time-lapse video that brings out the city’s beauty
Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni reports on KBS Realty Advisor’s $61 million offer for a King of Prussia office building
• Home sales and median sale prices in Philadelphia and surrounding counties have risen, according to Bucks Local News
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Roxborough Not Happy About Proposed Wendy’s

Last week, more than 50 Roxboroughans (Roxbros?) boarded a rented yellow school bus and headed to a zoning hearing to voice their displeasure over the proposed construction of a Wendy’s at the corner of Ridge and Roxborough. (Where the historic Bunting House used to sit before it was demolished.) They, along with Councilman Curtis Jones and other neighborhood poobahs, would prefer something a little more locally-sourced in its stead. To which I say: You want Kimye coming to visit your neighborhood or not? That’s what I thought.


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