A Park to Connect Old City to Penn's Landing?

Currently divided by I-95, Penn’s Landing could one day connect to Old City if a plan is made reality that would cover the highway and install a sloped park.

The executive committee of the non-profit Delaware River Waterfront Corporation met Thursday morning to discuss their Master Plan for the Central Delaware River -- a plan to redevelop Penn’s Landing.

The plan, already two and half years in the works, calls for eight acres of land stretching from Front Street in Old City over I-95 and Columbus Boulevard to connect Old City with the Delaware Riverfront. The roadways would be covered with parks and other development.

The board took a step towards making the park a reality when it picked design firm Hargreaves Associates from four finalists.

Hargreaves has sites including London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Louisville Waterfront Park to its credit.

"At DRWC we've worked with the City and the neighborhoods to make a really great start in creating public spaces that Philadelphians use and enjoy. And the spaces are beginning to attract private investments as well. Penn's Landing is our next big step, and the Hargreaves team will bring invention, experience, and creativity to capture its extraordinary long-term potential for both public and private investors,” said DRWC board chair Marilyn Jordan Taylor.

“The Hargreaves-led team has a proven track-record in creating high-quality public spaces that will attract private development,” said Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development Alan Greenberger. “This is another step in a very deliberate process to make connections from the city to the Delaware River, ultimately leading to the redevelopment of Penn’s Landing and a significant return-on-investment for the city.”

The plan is still in the preliminary stages.designer for the graded park as well as connection points from South and Market Streets at Thursday’s meeting, according to the DRWC.

A 286-page report on the plan to transform the waterfront is available online.

Hargreaves and the DRWC still must finalize a contract that is not expected to exceed $425,000.

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