Pastorius Park pond (left) before restoration work and fountains were added (right) (Photos by Tracy Gardner)

by Tracy Gardner

The long process of restoring Pastorius Park’s pond to health is well on its way to completion.

Over the course of almost a month, PPR’s sub- contractor, Mobile Dredging & Pumping, Co., of Chester, removed 17 years of sediment and organic material from the pond. After the pond was refilled, Princeton Hydro, another PPR sub-contractor, treated the pond with an anti-algal, and will do so periodically throughout the summer/fall season. Also, PPR will be seeding park grounds damaged by truck traffic.

On May 6, Friends of Pastorius Park volunteers moved turtles from their confinement in the park’s moat, back to the pond. FoPP’s pond specialist, Hermann Twelkmeyer (Ponds & Gardens of Limekiln) installed three new aerator fountains in the pond. Soon to come will be a perch for turtles to sun themselves, as well as activating a circulation pump to move water again from the stream head wall, through the moat, down the stream, and back into the pond.

FoPP developed the plan for installing the aerators back in 2015, as a complement to its circulating pumps to increase water motion. Each aerator moves 24,000 gallons of water an hour. These fountains will naturally, without chemicals, eliminate mosquito larvae, and add the aesthetic elements of water movement and sound to Pastorius’ shallow, man-made pond.

The complex project of restoring the health of Pastorius’ water system would never have happened without the generous support and capital funding provided by 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, PPR’s careful collaboration with FoPP, and the staunch FoPP volunteers who braved the cold and muck to gently move fish and turtles before and after the pond cleaning.

Special thanks are due to Joe Rainis, the city worker who has toiled tirelessly with FoPP over the years to install and maintain the great circulating pumps that he first recommended to the FoPP. Joe oversaw the draw-down of the pond and did the troubleshooting when problems arose. The city and park community is lucky to have such a conscientious worker.

Now that the pond is clean once more, FoPP hopes that the community will help us maintain its health by refraining from throwing things in the water.

Everything, from several parking signs, to hockey pucks, Frisbee, a dog collar (“Sassy”), and countless dog balls were discovered at the bottom of the pond.

In the future, FoPP and PPR are in agreement that the park’s pond should be cleaned at least every five years, to make this a much less arduous and expensive project. For itself, FoPP has spent $15,000 to date on cleaning the moat last October, and the purchase and installation of the pond’s new aerators this spring. The next pressing project at the park will be dealing with runoff and erosion, and repairing and reinvigorating the park grounds. FoPP hopes to successfully collaborate with PPR on this as we did on the pond.

Friends of Pastorius Park now has a Facebook page, where the public can go to learn about volunteer opportunities, like our upcoming May 20 spring clean-up at the park. Soon our organization will have a website: friendsofpastorius.org which will have historical and other information about the park, as well as a PayPal donation feature. Friends of Pastorius Park is a nonprofit Pennsylvania corporation that is recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization. Annual membership dues, as well as any gift donation are fully tax deductible. Membership forms are available in a mailbox in the amphitheater area in the park, or (soon) on FoPP website.

Tracy Gardner lives in Chestnut Hill and is president of Friends of Pastorius Park

  • Dog Owner

    Great news and definitely an improvement. Now if only there weren’t dogs freely roaming around Pastorius Park assaulting folks, people could actually enjoy the new space.

  • Blumengruss

    It would have been less arduous if they hadn’t used a suction hose to pull out, inch by inch, half an acre of dried mud. That was not the only way.

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