From former rail tracks, a park will come.
Friends of The Rail Park, a nonprofit, take the next step in fulfilling their vision, inspired by The Promenade Plantee in Paris and the High Line in New York, to bring life to The Rail Park.
The nonprofit was able to raise enough money, through fundraising and advocacy efforts, to begin construction on Phase One of The Rail Park Project.
From June 1 to Sept. 30, residents were able to get a taste of what the park will be like through the Philadelphia Horticultural Society's Pop-Up Garden.
The entire vision is for a 3-mile stretch of unused Reading Railroad lines, connecting 10 neighborhoods from Fairmount Park to Center City, to be transformed to a public park used for community engagement. Phase I of the project includes a quarter-mile stretch from N. Broad and Noble streets extending east and south to Callowhill Street near 11th Street.
This first phase will also include streetscaping along the 1300 Block of Noble Street.
With help from the Center City District and the City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the nonprofit would like to see the Rail Park become a public park and an attraction for residents and tourists.
Friends of the Rail Park will break ground on the project Monday afternoon with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in attendance.
The Friends of the Rail Park have support from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Free Library, the Community College of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Asian Arts Initiative and others to bring their vision to life.
The nonprofit said it plans to provide public programming at the park focused on health and wellness, education and arts and culture, and to work with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to ensure the Rail Park is well maintained and a beautiful and public space.
Construction is expected to begin soon after the groundbreaking and finish in early 2018.