A good portion of the renovated Dilworth Park outside Philadelphia City Hall is now open to the public.
Pomp and circumstance attended the new life of City Hall’s grand entrance.
The Temple University marching band streamed up the steps from the SEPTA station as the ribbon was cut, signaling the transformation of the old Dilworth Plaza into Dilworth Park.
City Council President Darrell Clarke joked that, at some points, it looked like the project might never be finished. But he said Paul Levy, president of the Center City District and leader of the project, never gave up.
“You know, we thought it was pretty easy to go along with that because there was no way in the world he was going to get $50 million dollars,” Clarke said. “And we signed off, ‘Yeah, Paul, you got it. We’re there … whatever the city needs to do, we’re on board.’ And, doggone it, this guy pulled it off.”
Amenities include a fountain that will transform into a skating rink in the winter, a new entrance to the SEPTA station below and — soon, Levy says — a grassy section for a quiet corner in the heart of Center City.
“We will have staff,” said Levy. “Unlike Love Park, which doesn’t fully staff, there will be people here at all times to remind [visitors] what the rules of public behavior are. I’m sure we will have some people push the edges, but that’s human nature. We hope it to be a wonderful place for the public.”
Terese Balzereit, who works in Center City, said she is impressed with the reinvigorated space.
“I love to see this spot cleaned up,” she said. “It’s spectacular … it really is. It’s going to bring people out. People are going to congregate in the right way, not sleep overnight over here.”
The final phase of the park, the green space, is scheduled to open in October, thanks to an additional $850,000 state grant.