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Philadelphia’s Pier 53 Waterfront Park Project Underway

The redevelopment of on area bordering the Delaware River at Pier 53 in Philadelphia has begun, thanks to a grant from DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program.

Washington Avenue Green Park hosted officials and those interested in seeing the pier rehabilitated for recreational and tourism purposes in a groundbreaking ceremony—referred to by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as a “ground-walking,” since the contingent on hand exchanged shovels for a short walk from the park to a pier overlooking the river.

Director of DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation Lauren Imgrund marked the occasion by pointing out that DCNR readily supports projects that connect—or re-connect—cities with their rivers.

And not only does it provide a scenic spot for recreation and sightseeing, the project is also ecologically friendly. Plans are in place to use the park as a model for larger wetland parks farther south.

As much vegetation and trees will be left alone as possible, and a boardwalk will be constructed above the wetland area. A path will follow the pier out to its end, where a 55-ft. spire—called a "land buoy" by its designer, Jody Pinto—will be built.

Visitors can climb the structure up to about 16 feet for a better view. Interpretive signs will also be erected, highlighting the area’s importance in bringing immigrants off of overseas ships into the port of Philadelphia.

The pier’s history will be a draw for history buffs and ancestors of those who first stepped foot in America—a number that is estimated to be around 1 million. The pier and surrounding area also served as an early navy yard.

The park will absorb the existing features of the waterfront area, such as a brick pathway and a fires circle. A gateway arch will also act as an entryway to the park from adjacent Columbus Boulevard.

DCNR has given $250,000 in grant money to the project as part of its Community Conservation Partnerships Program. It is in addition to the more than $2.5 million DCNR has invested in the ongoing revamping of the Central Delaware riverfront area in Philadelphia.

For more information financial assistance for recreation projects, visit DCNR’s Apply For Grants webpage. For more information on the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s Central Delaware project, Click Here.

(Reprinted from DCNR’s November 13 Resource newsletter.)


11/18/2013

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