Refurbished Dilworth Plaza will yield fountain, skating rink

With Occupy Philadelphia protesters out of the way, work is beginning to transform Dilworth Plaza.

“Our goal is to make this a major first-class gateway to public transit in the city,” said Paul Levy of the Center City District. A fence now is cutting off most of Dilworth Plaza, the front yard of City Hall, to pedestrian traffic.

Levy said while most of the initial construction will occur underground, some work will be visible.

“I should not say we aren’t totally touching the top, trees will be cut down, granite will be cut down, there’s a huge amount of liability and insurance issues that go with a construction project,” Levy said. “You don’t want people walking through a construction project.”

The $50 million project on the west side of City Hall will include a big fountain area where sprays will be triggered as subway trains below come and go.

“It’s a steamlike mist that will come up out of the plaza itself, so the goal here is not only to create an artistic element but to have something to make subsurface transit visible,” Levy said.

The project will include an ice-skating rink in winter and places for concerts and movies in warm weather. It’s expected to be completed by the spring of 2014.

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