January 15, 2016

Design Competition Site Information

The two sites for the Urban Arboreta Design Competition are both located in the West Parkside neighborhood of Philadelphia, which is part of the West Park District Plan. Competition entrants are welcome to submit proposals for the Merion Avenue site only, the Parkside Avenue site only, or both the Merion and Parkside Avenue sites, either singly or together.

Merion Avenue Site:

This site abuts the Amtrak/SEPTA rail corridor to the north, the rear yards of row houses positioned along Merion Avenue to the south, 49th Street to the west, and a vacant property managed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to the east. Access is possible at two locations along Merion Avenue and at 49th Street. The site was formerly home to a steel foundry and bearing manufacturing plant that was accessible from the rail lines to the north. The remnants of the floor slabs still exist on the site. Urban Tree Connection leases the land for their urban farm that currently consists of two high tunnels at the eastern end of the property. Construction rubble, tree roots and trunks, and other vegetation have been scrapped from the site and piled on the site.

Check out the site video:

To download a survey of impervious surfaces on the Merion Avenue site, click here.

Parkside Avenue Site:

This approximately 3.5 acre site is bound by 49th Street on the west, Parkside Avenue to the north, a service access drive to the east, and a line projected from the extension of Viola Street. Access is possible along 49th Street and at the corner of 49th street and Parkside Avenue where the former SEPTA bus turnaround and restroom building is located. This site was covered almost entirely with railroad siding tracks at one time that likely provided access to the steel bearing facility at the Merion Avenue site and today is primarily open meadow with clumps of trees and a gentle slope. Evidence of the railroad’s former existence can be seen in a manhole still on the site.

Check out the site video:

To download site photos of both sites, please click here.