delaware waterfront

Envision the Philadelphia's eastern edge bordered by a natural boundary of parks and green spaces, wetlands and piers, trails and marinas, and you can begin to understand the overarching principles of the Plan for the Central Delaware to create a 30-acre green space along the Delaware waterfront.

To add to the recent flow of grant money it has received, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation recently received a $5M grant from the William Penn Foundation that will, in part, help to develop Pier 68, located next to the shopping center on Columbus Blvd. containing Walmart and Old Navy.

To be developed

“We want to sort of bookend that side of South Philadelphia,” said Lizzie Woods, DRWC project manager.

Based on what DRWC heard from the community during meetings the past two years, there is a demand to create a more physically active green space at Pier 68, now a concrete bastion, including a high demand for space to fish. In 2011, DRWC acquired Piers 64, 67, 68 and 70 with the help of a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant, according to Woods. A study found that Pier 68 presented the most viable option for immediate development.

As we briefly mentioned the other day, the folks from Philly Fringe and Live Arts Festival were recently awarded a $400K grant from ArtPlace America. This grant will contribute to the development of an outdoor plaza adjacent to the former pumping station now being renovated to serve as the Fringe Festival’s home at Race Street and Columbus Boulevard in the shadow of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

While new playground improvements are scheduled for Penn Treaty Park, the Fishtown waterfront park at Columbia and Delaware Avenue immediately north of Sugarhouse, the improvements are only part of a larger long-term redevelopment plan envisioned for the park where William Penn signed a treaty with the Lenni-Lenape Indians in the seventeenth century.

And while plans are moving forward to modernize the playground on the northern edge of the park, they will lack the kind of creativity and innovation suggested in the Penn Treaty Park Master Plan completed by Studio Bryan Hanes in 2009, in collaboration with the park's friends group.

A phased green redevelopment of Penn’s Landing is edging ever closer as the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) announced this month its selection of international and domestic award-winning firm Hargreaves Associates to perform preliminary design work on the area defined by a stretch that runs between Market and South Streets and extends from Front Street to the river.

Current view of Penn's Landing

The concept envisions an eight acre Penn’s Landing Park as the centerpiece of this sustainable redevelopment, that will connect Walnut and Chestnut Streets to Penn's Landing, as well as redefine the current slope as it descends from the expressway towards the river. Other plans include a cap over I-95 and the development of a six acre site at Front & Market. Those and other concepts were informed by the Master Plan for the Central Delaware, a two and a half year planning effort sparked with the help of a $1M William Penn Foundation grant that started in 2009.

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.