Re-opening of Philadelphia's Independence Mall
The re-opening of Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, part of Independence National Historical Park, can be described in one word: incredible. BrightView, along with fellow champions, suppliers, local media, and eager crowds, were there to witness the symbolic ribbon cutting to re-open the historic lawn to the public on May 17, 2019.
BrightView’s in-kind donation to Independence National Historical Park’s landscape includes the replacement of nearly 100,000 square feet of damaged sod, irrigation repair, tree care, and improvements to the gardens, as well as maintenance of the landscape for the next year.
(For the full transcript, see below.)
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BrightView’s Re-opening of Independence National Mall
Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent at Independence National Historical Park:
Welcome to Independence National Historical Park. We are here today to celebrate the re-opening of Independence Mall and to thank BrightView Landscapes, from the bottom of our heart, for the work they have done to beautify this part of the park. Doesn't it look wonderful?
At BrightView we're proud to be working directly with the National Park Service on restoring this national monument to the glory it should be. In October 2017, I was sitting and having coffee on a Sunday morning and there in the newspaper was an article about the state of the National Park system’s great Independence Hall.
Christian Hanley, Director of Technology at OLIN:
I walk through this park every morning on my way to work and over the years, I've seen it stressed from occupation of the various visitors.
The state of the park was in somewhat disrepair and the turf was compacted, so when I read the article, I then contacted our Chief Marketing Officer, Todd Chambers, and said, "We've got to do something about it." This is our home. Not only are we a Philadelphia-based company, but we are the largest landscaping company in the United States.
The National Park Service has been challenged with resources available to them in past decades and it is so wonderful to have citizens, like BrightView, to step in and help.
Tom Caramanico, President of Independence Historical Trust:
Our job as philanthropic partner of Independence Park is to raise money for projects around the park that don't fit into the federal budget. When BrightView called and demonstrated that they were willing to donate this much work to the park, I was just blown away by that. Their civic leadership will help us with everything else we're trying to do here.
Mark Squilla, Philadelphia Councilman of District 1:
This is a true public-private partnership today and what a great view we have. Isn't it a bright view? A beautiful, bright view.
It's great. I think before it was kind of - not dull - but it wasn't as green and it wasn't as lively. It was just kind of there.
This Block One in front of Independence Hall is enormously improved from how it was just a few months ago. The pride that the BrightView associates have put into this and the enjoyment that the visitors will get from their exquisite donation and ongoing maintenance is really important to us.
I think it looks really beautiful and green and I think it's inviting. It doesn't have all the patchy spots that it used to have. I am super impressed that someone was willing to donate all of this to Philly.
I can't believe how beautiful BrightView has made the park and the surrounding area.
The first thing I noticed is how green it was. It feels like a place you'd want to almost take a nap in the grass. I think it's great that they've given their time and energy to revitalize the downtown areas and bring more tourists back in and put money back into the community.
BrightView crews, many of them here today, have spent the last seven weeks working to return this landscape, the most visited part of one of the city's most visited attractions, to something every resident of Philadelphia can be proud of.
BrightView Landscapes' in-kind donation, valued at over $300,000, is a truly magnificent, visible improvement and we greatly appreciate the donation. In addition to the work they have already completed that you're enjoying today, they will perform one year of landscape maintenance work and train our staff on their upkeep methods. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
The BrightView people have an incredible amount of knowledge about how to handle turf, like this, that is heavily used and that knowledge is going be very valuable to this park and will be helpful for years into the future.
Jake Chalfin, Sales Manager at Laurel Valley Soils:
When managing turf, a lot of companies will take a shortcut and just try to feed it from the top down when really there's an underlying problem which is amending the soil from the bottom up. It takes a lot more time and investment to do it that way, but they had the courage and the foresight to know how to do it the right way.
Thank you again to BrightView for this wonderful donation and contribution to the National Park Service and to the city of Philadelphia.
This is something that we need to cherish - to be able to have people like BrightView be able to help and partner with us to be able to make this happen. Please give them a great round of applause for what they have done for us here today.
We hope every person who visits this park, whether a resident of Philadelphia or a tourist, is as moved by the beauty and significance of this extraordinary place as we are. To the National Park Service and superintendent MacLeod, thank you for allowing us to help and thank you for coming out today.