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Venice Island

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Wrecking The Rec Center

Video: NewsWorks

Even if you don't care about stormwater management (and it's our sworn duty to insist you really should), who doesn't like to watch stuff get wrecked? WHYY's NewsWorks posted a time-lapse video (above) of the demolition of the old Venice Island recreation center. It's all part of PWD's two-year, $40 million project to install a 4 million-gallon underground storage basin and revamp the area with a new performing arts space, children's play area (including a sprayground) and parking space. Read the accompanying NewsWorks article here.

Click here to learn more about the Venice Island project and check out our recent post on how the storage basin may have controlled flooding in Manayunk due to Hurricane Irene.

What Would Venice Island Do?

Rendering of Venice Island project in Manayunk

WHYY's NewsWorks asked the question: How would the new Venice Island water basin have fared in Hurricane Irene?

If you were tuned in to local TV news over the weekend, you probably saw the situation in Manayunk: flooded roads near Main Street and Shurs Lane. Could the underground storage basin on nearby Venice Island—construction is just underway—have helped alleviate the flooding?

"At 400 feet long, 75 feet wide and 25 feet deep, the new basin will catch and temporarily store diverted storm flow from the sanitary sewer running along the Manayunk Canal. But would the new tank have prevented or lessened the hurricane-level flooding that doused part of Main Street over the weekend?

The short answer, officials say: Probably.

'This is a big tank but this was also a pretty good storm -- about 5 ½ inches over a 24-hour period,' [PWD spokeswoman Joanne] Dahme said in an email Monday. 'Without the modeling to confirm, we believe it would have worked well in this storm as rainfall was fairly steady, dispersed over a long period of time.'"

Click here for more information on the Venice Island project and to sign up for email updates.

The Big News: Venice Island

Rendering of completed Venice Island project

Beginning next week, Manayunk's Venice Island—a strip of land situated between the Manayunk Canal and the Schuylkill River—will undergo a $46 million makeover that includes the construction of an underground storage basin, a new performing arts center, a children's play area and a new parking lot. This project is so big we've created our own blog category for it, as well as a web page with more details and updates as construction progresses. The underground basin will have the capacity to store four million gallons of water in an effort to protect and improve the health of the Schuylkill River. And, as reported in today's NewsWorks article, Venice Island's other new amenities will benefit the site as well:

"For decades, the Venice Island rec center was the site of community programs, summer swimming and nearly year-round athletics. A city photo from 1960 shows a tidy waterfront playground tucked between then-working railroad tracks and the Schuylkill, a lifetime away from the forbidding, overgrown place Venice Island became in recent years.

In its new incarnation, the hockey rink and 3,200 square-foot playground area at Venice Island will be replaced one-for-one. The pool is being scrapped in favor of a spray ground area, and the basketball courts will be enlarged slightly to make them NCAA-regulation sized.

The performing arts center will also serve as a home base for the Parks and Recreation Department's Young Performers Theater Camp, which currently operates out of rented space at the Annenberg Center, [PWD's Joanne] Dahme said.

'This is a tight little island, so we're trying to squeeze as much as we can on here,' she said."

Another rendering of the site after the jump.

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