Living close to downtown Philadelphia presents a variety of tradeoffs. Sure, you can easily walk into Center City for the purposes of work or play. Then again, demand is higher for housing in the neighborhoods closest to downtown, which usually means higher costs and less space. And since land is at such a premium, homes in neighborhoods in and around Center City tend to have less outdoor space. This is where parks come in, giving folks a chance to stretch out, toss a football, and let their dogs and/or kids run around. Some parks are big, like Columbus Square or Chew Playground. Others are quite small, like the pocket park at 22nd & Catharine or the nascent Titan Park.
You remember Titan Park, right? Located at 108-110 Titan St. and measuring a mere 952 sqft, it’s one of the few survivors of a citywide pocket park program from 1976. Back in 2012 when we first wrote about it, neighbors had just rediscovered the property and were making moves to beautify the space. At the same time, they were pushing back against a plan from the City to sell off the parcel for redevelopment. To their credit, the park’s friends group not only prevented the sale of the property, they also snagged a grant to work with the Community Design Collaborative to come up with a sustainable redesign for the park. As they waited for funding for said redesign, they continued to work on their little pocket park to make it more attractive and functional in the interim.
Exactly two years ago, we shared the good news that funding was in place and renovation was on the horizon for the summer of 2016. But that summer came and went, as did the summer of 2017, with no construction taking place. We have no idea what caused this delay, but we were cheered last week, when we received an email from the park’s friends group, informing us that construction is finally underway. We visited the park yesterday, and can confirm that this is indeed the case.
It took more than six years, but Titan Park is finally happening. Kudos to the small group of people that have advocated for this space over the years, pushing to prevent its redevelopment and pretty much willing it into becoming a productive and desirable public space. We don’t know whether the rendering above is still representative of the final plan for the park, but we’ll be on the lookout for what it looks like in a couple months, when construction is complete.