The Upper Roxborough Reservoir and Swale is a 34 acre Preserve.
The Preserve is made up of a decommissioned Reservoir, reclaimed by nature and a state of the art Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) Swale. The Swale is designed to capture storm water in the Shawmont area of the City and together with the Roxborough Reservoir comprise a 34 acres Preserve. This park area is landscaped and maintained by the Friends of the Upper Roxborough Reservoir Preserve.
Bounded by Summit Ave., Port Royal Ave., Eva St and Lare St, these two projects represents current thinking on how to manage water in urban areas. The Reservoir had been an active water holding/purification site from 1898 until 1962 when it was decommissioned. The Reservoir has two basins, one largely dry and the other generally filled with water ranging anywhere from a few inches to a few feet deep. The combined area is home to a large number of small mammals and significant variety of birdlife. It is the place to which thousands of toads from the surrounding woods migrate in the spring to mate.
In 2007 neighbors began clearing and improving the Roxborough Reservoir and along the edges of Summit Ave. In 2012-13, PWD created the Summit Avenue Swale. Since that time volunteer labor has cleared and planted as necessary this entire area. Over a ten plus year period there have been well over two thousand trees planted, as well as an equal amount of bulbs. The chain link fencing has been gradually replaced on the Reservoir and will be completed this year with a grant that was recently secured. From an overgrown area that few folks ventured into, this entire site including the Reservoir and the Swale now has an extensive number of visitors who are walkers, runners or dog walkers, many of who now volunteer themselves.
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