Those of us who know and love The Woodlands are familiar with the multitude of activities to which the space plays host. The Woodlands is not only an active cemetery, it’s also a remarkable recreational resource, an exciting community events space, a rich historical landscape, and a bio-diverse urban ecosystem. Over the course of the day, The Woodlands is visited by dog walkers and runners, local history buffs and nature-lovers, community gardeners and many more.
This diversity of users is what makes The Woodlands so special, but it also makes planning for the future of the site particularly complicated. This year, thanks to the generous support of the William Penn Foundation, The Woodlands is embarking on a master planning process. This process will bring together the different constituencies who use the site in order to craft an inclusive and comprehensive plan for the future. The master plan is an exciting opportunity to envision how we want to see The Woodlands develop, and it will guarantee that The Woodlands continues to act as a vibrant cemetery, community green space, and cultural asset well into the coming years.
This year is a particularly crucial time for The Woodlands to initiate a master plan, as institutions all around the site are pursuing new projects. The master plan will capitalize on these exciting plans and allow The Woodlands to align our priorities with those of our neighbors. Particularly relevant are the Bartram’s Mile plan (shown in the rendering below), the new Lower Schuylkill Master Plan, and the city’s Schuylkill River recreation and trail planning initiatives. The Woodlands strategic location means that it sits at the nexus of all of these different plans, which makes the development of our own master plan especially important. Now is an exciting time for green spaces and cultural resources in Philadelphia, and a master planning process will solidify our position as one of the most important natural and historical resources in the city.
Currently, The Woodlands is soliciting proposals from a variety of planning, architecture, and landscape architecture firms who will help to create the master plan. Once a firm is hired, the team will analyze the site and consult with staff, board members, and community stakeholders to create a plan for the years ahead. A particularly exciting opportunity will be a public meeting that will allow all those who use and love The Woodlands to share their ideas. By including a diversity of voices, the firm will be able to craft a plan that balances the needs and desires of all the different types of people who enjoy The Woodlands. Stay tuned to the blog and website for continued updates and details as we begin this exciting project!
by Joe Huennekens
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