Neighborhoods Garden Trust and the Friends of Concert Garden announced plans to renew and restore the Concert Garden, an outdoor garden space located at 21st and Ellsworth streets in Point Breeze last Friday morning. Present at the ceremony was state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, Rep. Jordan Harris, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Senior Vice President of Sprouts Farmers Market Dan Croce and Aliyah Stanger, the regional director of the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
The new design will include a central paved area with lawn panels, including fixed and flexible seating; permeable pavers to replace the existing impervious paving to increase stormwater drainage; a new stage big enough for a six- to eight-piece band and a solid canopy that can be used for concerts and other special events as well as everyday use; and new lighting, including perimeter lighting and safety along the sidewalk, feature lighting for the stage, landscape lights in the garden and a light to illuminate the mural at night.
Additionally, the restoration will include a storage shed for tools, child-friendly elements for kids to play with and new plantings.
According to NGT, future programming activities at the Concert Garden include gardening workshops, movie nights and concerts.
“Outdoor spaces like this are vital to enhancing the wellbeing and social togetherness of our neighborhoods – a place for friends and neighbors to gather, listen to one another and celebrate the strength we bring through our diversity,” said Williams. “I’m honored to be a part of this effort and will continue to support quality public spaces like the Concert Garden.”
One of the most notable features of the Concert Garden is the mural that sits beside it. The mural, entitled “Aspire: No Limits,” features a portrait of Shawn White, a South Philly born-and-raised music producer who sadly died of hypertension in April 2013. According to Mural Arts, White worked with artists such as Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of The Roots, musician Larry Gold, Kenny Whitehead and Beanie Sigel.
“I knew Shawn White and his contributions to this community live well beyond his talent on this earth,” said Harris at the event. “Every time I drive by here, I’m inspired to see such a beautiful mural. I’m so inspired to see his son here and his legacy on earth still being here today. This is going to be an amazing project, and I hope the community enjoys it.”
Johnson saw the garden as a way to make the neighborhood a beautiful place to live for the people who’ve grown up there – not just the people who’ve recently moved into the gentrifying Point Breeze neighborhood.
“As we see rapid development, we have to keep the development without displacement,” he said. “We have to keep making sure we have green spaces for people to come and enjoy themselves. So we don’t believe that every parcel of land should go toward a development project. Let’s keep some green space aside so you can have the opportunity to enjoy yourself in the neighborhood you live in. You don’t have to go to Rittenhouse Square, you can come to the Concert Garden.”