On the way to an interview Monday afternoon, we found another example of Philly being rebuilt in artistic ways when we chanced upon a closed sidewalk and busy construction workers at 10th and Pearl Streets (just south of Vine Street) in Chinatown. The construction is part of a $1.7M Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation streetscape initiative to “beautify the neighborhood and improve pedestrian flow across the Vine Street Expressway,” according to Xin Ge, PCDC special projects manager.

A worker at the site said workers from MECO Constructors have been working to rebuild the curbs and sidewalks along 10th Street, between Race and Callowhill Streets, since last March. When finished, improvements will include new trees and granite curbs and sidewalks (poured with colored concrete mixed with metallic sparkles). In addition, bronze Chinese medallions modeled after Zodiac signs and pedestrian lighting that resembles old Chinese palace lights will be installed along Ninth and 10th Streets, from Vine to Race Streets. This is the fourth phase in PCDC’s neighborhood beautification plans and will connect to its recently completed 10th Street Plaza project, which provides much needed space for community activities.

According to project foreman Richard Erwin, initial construction along 10th Street is almost finished. Workers will pour concrete for the curbs and sidewalks sometime this week and once work on 10th Street is completed, workers will begin a similar project along Ninth Street.  Slated to be completed by July 1, the streetscape initiative will add to the already unique area of Chinatown. —-Lou Mancinelli