Have We Come Up With A Plan for the Waterfront That We Can All Agree On?

Mr. Fox

If we had all day, we would submerge ourselves in the new Master Plan for the Central Delaware, an extensive and ambitious plan for the future development of the Delaware River waterfront between Allegheny and Oregon Avenues.

Perhaps the future

The plan is a result of years of work and meetings among consultants, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DWRC), the public, and others. The City Planning Commission unanimously voted to approve the plan a few weeks ago, making it an official city plan that will impact all future development in the waterfront areas.

The plan marks a renewed interest in a vision for a developed waterfront with parks, trails, entertainment venues, restaurants, residences, and more. A $1.25M grant for Natural Lands Trust to acquire a waterfront parcel comprised of 11 acres of riparian lands on behalf of DWRC represents an essential early step toward implementing the plan. The land we're talking about is at the end of Pier 70 Boulevard, by the South Philly Columbus Blvd. shopping centers. Acquisition of this land will lead to the creation of a permanent, multi-use recreational trail along the river and create the southern anchor of a new ecological wetlands park, both of which are critical components of DRWC’s recently released plan.

Newly acquired land

Highlights of the master plan make us want to hop into the Naked Philly Delorean and go three decades into the future, where we would be young, wealthy, well-dressed and living in a new home (or a van, whatever) in an urban enclave down by the river. Surrounding us would be 13 parks within 5.8 miles, 4.8 miles of multi-use trails, 96 acres of green space, improvements to Pier 53, and a water taxi service. The Festival Pier and Penn’s Landing would be transformed from their current lame-o versions, into engaging and exciting sites that are used for more than just concerts.

A vision of Penns Landing in the future

But of course, plans and thoughts about waterfront development are older than Veterans Stadium, and, well we have seen the way of the Vet. But we think this new plan will have more staying power. And with the Phila2035 comprehensive plans for the city unfolding, and initiatives like the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s  mission to plant 1M trees, we're thinking the best has yet to come.

If only they would cap I95.

Can't have everything in this world, huh?

--Lou Mancinelli