Last week, the City announced that beginning on July 17th, Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum steps will be playing host to an inviting park and exciting project.
From the Parks and Recreation's announcement on their website, "eight acres of public space at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway" will become a place to meet, play, and engage in activities offered by participating organizations. There is more information and renderings here.
Running through August 20th, the currently paved parking lot space will convert to large open blocks of pedestrian-friendly turf with inviting benches, a stage for free live entertainment and movie nights, and the city's best food trucks coming through every day. According to the drawings, there will be seating for eating, lawn games to play, sandboxes to dig, and sprinklers for hot days.
Move out of the way, way. Now is the time for more park, and less way along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Various improvements have been made to the Parkway in recent years and more are coming. The Action Plan for the Parkway will be unveiled during a public meeting tonight at 5:30pm at the Academy of Natural Sciences.
The Academy, photo credit greatnonprofits.org
The plan, rooted in the “More Park, Less Way” theme, is the result of a year long process overseen by the Department of Parks and Recreation, with the help of PennPRAXIS, aimed at collecting public input to inform design upgrades. Four meetings were held this past summer in the neighborhoods surrounding and connected to the Parkway: Fairmount, Logan Square, Brewerytown and Francisville. The project will connect past improvements, like streetscaping (although those parking spots are terribly in the way), renovations at the Rodin Museum, and the opening of the Barnes Foundation (which was enabled by breaking a dead man’s will — well, at least we’re closer to Matisse now).
They brainstormed and eventually purchased agricultural troughs that formerly were used to feed livestock (moo). Then they applied green technology to the troughs and retrofitted the basins and transformed them into the planters that now dot Market Street.
That’s a good idea. And there will be more on the way thanks to a recent $500K grant (they fabricated the park with $275K in capital resources) offered by the William Penn Foundation. According to UCD’s director of planning and economic development Prema Gupta, the vision for UCD is to create a park in phases that when completed, will offer the same quality amenities as the recently renovated Sisters City Park, or the still new Race Street Pier. The grant will contribute to that vision and be applied to future programming and infrastructure.