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.

Site plan

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.

Awesome rendering

The free programming sounds like a boon to the community, with free interactive games, fitness activities, educational and environmental programs. The planning seems first-rate as they intend to have a different theme each day. The project’s Facebook and Twitter should keep you up-to-date on the events.

The space will be open to visitors 9am to 9pm, Tuesdays through Sundays. It seems the transformation will begin after the July 4th concert, which will take place on the site.

Is this a beach scene?

Another rendering

This is just the latest addition to all that this stretch has to offer. With the PMA sitting on its throne at the top of the Rocky Steps, the most recent permanent member to this core of Philly culture is the impressive Paine’s Park. Ten years in the making and it’s already been a huge success with locals and visitors of every age, and a beautiful addition to the Museum area and the Schuylkill River Trail.

The Barnes has opened, the Rodin has been restored, Cafe Cret is a delicious stop before you get to LOVE Park, and the Ben Franklin Parkway is seeing new life sprout throughout. This is in no doubt thanks to the push of Philly Parks and Rec and PennPraxis to improve the Parkway.

–Lauren Summers