After a year of meetings, investigations and numerous public engagements, Philly officials have finally unveiled a new $ 200 million master plan to transform South Philly’s FDR Park into an “urban oasis.”
The plan for the century-old park remake was revealed last week, and it has a strong focus on preserving the park’s existing nature and architecture, while bringing in new amenities and spaces that attract more visitors, according to a press release from the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
“Extensive community feedback revealed that users in South Philly and FDR Park value the opportunities to connect with nature and enjoy safe walking and biking trails the most,” the statement said.
The Fairmount Park Conservancy has divided the master plan into two categories. The first, Ecological Core, focuses on the preservation and enhancement of the park’s natural elements:
- Create elevated boardwalks, a picnic area, and access points for fishing and paddling around the lakes.
- Restore a 40-acre wetland in the southwestern part of the park, with access to trails and nature.
- Expand Shed Brook, a little-known creek in the park, for visitors to kayak and explore.
- Complete The Hill, a public space rising 36 feet above the park with views of the park, skyline, and rivers.
The second category, Urban Edge, focuses on amenities to attract more visitors of all ages to the park:
- The Franklin 5K, a 3.1 mile trail that runs through the park and connects visitors to different aspects of the park.
- Create a “big lawn” where visitors can picnic, relax and organize events.
- Complete The Fields, three groups of sports grounds that include tennis courts, basketball courts (new to the park), and a play area.
The master plan for the 348-acre park came about after years of flooding and use, “(wreaked havoc) on its infrastructure and environmental integrity,” according to a statement from the Fairmount Park Conservancy last year. . In the spring of 2018, conservation announced it would seek public input on ways to improve the park.
Over the past year, they have spoken with 3,000 community members through surveys, town halls, canvassing and workshops. The master plan was designed by the Philly-based company WRT Design.
The conservation is seeking funding from local, state and federal agencies as well as private donors to pay the estimated $ 200 million cost of the park’s renovations, the statement said. So far, they have benefited from the support of the William Penn Foundation and the Philadelphia International Airport, who wish to help restore the wetlands.
It is not known when the park master plan will be completed. For now, check out some of the renderings from the site below.