Hilltop Green Playce Bonus: Stormwater Management

The Hilltop Green Playce is located along Warrington Ave. in Allentown’s business district. Tucked between 2 buildings and below a parking lot, the lot is part asphalt and part hillside. The site receives a significant amount of stormwater runoff from the adjacent impervious surfaces in this highly urbanized watershed. Thanks to a grant received from the Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD), we have been able to install stormwater best management practices (BMPs) in order to improve site conditions, provide educational opportunities, and protect watershed health.

Check out this sequence of photos which shows the site progression, including the rain garden and stormwater planter installation.

Before: Looking into the site


Before: Hillside


Before: Looking out of the site


Progress: Hillside is cleared of invasive plants and mobile planters are built


Unexpected discovery: We found this Slimy Salamander, one of the many creatures who will appreciate improved habitat.


Progress: Building out some of the elements identified by kids and partners, including a repurposed slide and giant reading nest.


Rain Garden Progress: Members of the South Hilltop Men’s Group excavated the rain garden and filled the bottom part with river rock for extra water storage.


Progress: Filing the rain garden with engineered soil mix (compost, soil, and sand) for improved infiltration.


Progress: Rain garden is planted with native plants and topped off with mulch.


Progress: The stormwater planter is in place with the same layers as the rain garden. Drainage pipes from the hillside divert stormwater into the planter.


Almost finished: Remaining bare areas were planted with clover and native perennial seeds. We love how this site has come together so nicely!


IMG_0433 (1)
Rosie tries out the slide, which offers a great view of the rain garden and the rest of the site!


We are currently finishing up a few last details such as winter garden boxes. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with amazing community partners to transform vacant spaces into community assets. Special thanks to ACCD for the funds for the rain garden, stormwater planter, and plants to help stabilize the hillside. We’re looking forward to conducting watershed educational sessions in the fall on this space. Stay tuned for details!

If you’d like to come see the rain garden and the nearly-complete Green Playce, check out Two Wheels Lots of Green this Saturday, August 20th! Get your tickets now!

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