On Friday, May 20th, a new green space joined the Borough of Jenkintown after years in the making. Cedar Street Moretti Park opened to the public with a ceremony featuring a who’s who of contributors who helped make the park possible. We were there too.
In the middle of a residential neighborhood, you can find Cedar Street Moretti Park at 435 Cedar Street in Jenkintown. Formerly the residence of the Moretti Family, in 2016, Bob Moretti offered the property to the Borough at a below market value with a vision of turning the residence into a green space for the community. Bob wanted to honor his parents, Anthony and Josephine, longtime residents of Jenkintown. Married at the Immaculate Conception Church in 1952, Anthony and Josephine Moretti lived in the Borough for over 50 years. Even after their children graduated, they were active in Jenkintown school events and always cherished the walkability of the community.
It took 6 years from the inspiration to fruition of the park, and it took the perseverance and commitment of many different people to make it happen. Jenkintown Borough Council, Borough Manager George Locke, County and State government, citizen groups, contractors, public works, and more. The park also received grants to aid in the construction, a list of which can be found at the end of the article.
Eva Monheim, of Verdant Earth Educators, summed up the participation:
“The Borough Manager, staff, elected officials, residents, businesses, and community services have all been involved in this undertaking and kudos to you all for the vision that you had to create this space.,” said Monheim. “Cedar Street Moretti Park becomes a legacy of open space for residents to enjoy long after we’re all gone…it’s about thinking into the future. Thinking about our grandchildren… thinking of space when we can’t see it any longer. That’s so important.”
Verdant Earth Educators helped with the selection of the various plant communities found at the park, and those communities have varying degrees of environmental functions. There are wetland plants in the rain garden that aid in purifying water after heavy rains, and function as a storage space to lessen run-off. Some of the plants in the park stabilize the soil so it does not move around or leave the park, which is critical in mitigating down-stream pollution. The large trees and shrubs help to create wind blocks, act as visual buffers, and will create sound baffles. They also will add cooling effects on hot days.
Besides the obvious environmental benefits, the park has plenty of places to sit, ride bikes, places to climb, observe nature, and is aesthetically pleasing. When we were there, there were already mockingbirds enjoying the park, and their calls only helped accentuate the general vibe conspicuous at the event.
Jenkintown Borough Mayor Gabriel Lerman put it into words:
“My kids have already ridden around this park a hundred times. They’ve climbed on the rocks, they’re playing, they’re laughing. You see people here enjoying it; they’re smiling, being happy…and that is something we definitely need more of.”