Master Plan for the Central Delaware and the Race Street Pier Win Commonwealth Awards from 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania

Contact:  Laurie Heinerichs
Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (215) 629 -3218, (267) 228-1990 (cell)

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has received two awards from the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania during the 2011 Commonwealth Awards at the Hilton Harrisburg, in Harrisburg, PA.  Developers, planners, legislators, local government officials and others involved and interested in responsible and efficient land use practices were in attendance as the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation received the Commonwealth-Gold award for Plans and Planning for the Master Plan for the Central Delaware and received the Commonwealth Award for Public Infrastructure for the Race Street Pier. 

10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania is an alliance of organizations and individuals from across the state who are committed to land use policies and actions that will enable Pennsylvania to strengthen its diverse urban, suburban, and rural communities and reduce sprawl.  10,000 Friends seeks development that will support the social and economic viability of Pennsylvania’s cities and towns, protect environmental quality, conserve fiscal resources, and preserve our state’s exceptional rural and heritage resources. 

The Commonwealth Awards is a juried state-wide program honoring smart growth projects, but also the Pennsylvanians who are leading the way on smart growth.  A record number of high caliber submissions that enhanced the quality of their communities were received from companies and organizations that have contributed to a wide range of project types—urban infill, historic preservation and rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, brownfield redevelopment, revitalization plans, traditional neighborhood development and farmland preservation.

Receiving the Commonwealth Award for Public Infrastructure Projects was the Race Street Pier.  The Race Street Pier is a one‐acre park located on the Delaware River at Race Street adjacent to the old City section of Philadelphia. Opened in May 2011, its cutting-edge design by James Corner Field Operations takes advantage of the breathtaking views up and down the river, as well as the monumental Benjamin Franklin Bridge.  The formerly vacant municipal pier has been repurposed as stunning public recreation and green space.

Jack Machek, President of the 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania adds, “The Race Street Pier is already showing that it is successfully transforming and revitalizing the waterfront into a vibrant space for visitors and businesses, and nearby residents.  Not only is this dynamic project catalyzing development on nearby parcels and drawing visitors to the park and other waterfront destinations, but very importantly it aligns with the City of Philadelphia’s greenworks goals, the Master Plan for the Central Delaware waterfront.”

Machek congratulates the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, “10,000 Friends salutes the dynamic leadership of the Delaware Riverfront Corporation in making the Race Street Pier project a stunning urban park. The completion of the Race Street Pier project is a promising sign that the Master Plan for the Central Delaware can be implemented when there is the will and commitment from the City and all the riverfront’s stakeholders.”

For the category Plans and Planning, the Master Plan for the Central Delaware received the Commonwealth Gold Award.  The Master Plan for the Central Delaware provides a detailed plan for six miles of the Delaware waterfront through central Philadelphia, covering nearly 1,100 acres of land and spanning a variety of uses from vacant brownfields to active industrial to new residential to parkland. The plan envisions a revitalized waterfront that both enhances the working aspects of the river, such as the port facilities at both the north and south of the planning area, as well as new mixed‐use development that complements the scale and character of the existing Philadelphia neighborhoods.

The plan integrates the waterfront with the city; by focusing development along the central part of the city, it helps to guide development and reduce land consumption by advocating for reuse and many diverse uses of brownfields and underutilized parcels.  The plan includes a highly‐detailed strategy of limited public investment that aims to begin the transformation of the waterfront through the development of improved public space — such as the Race Street Pier — at key locations in order to catalyze private development on adjacent parcels.  Combining a long term vision for the Delaware River waterfront with a practical understanding of funding realities the plan is a superb example of the of comprehensive, farsighted and pragmatic urban planning.

Machek, again comments that, “The Master Plan for the Central Delaware River offers a brilliant blue print for revitalizing the waterfront and intelligently integrating it with the character of the city’s many neighborhoods along the Delaware River.  The plan’s detailed strategy of limited public investment smartly aims to begin the transformation of the waterfront through the development of improved public space at key locations — such as the Race Street Pier — in order to catalyze private development on adjacent parcels.”


“We are honored to receive these two prestigious awards from a statewide organization dedicated to supporting the best practices in urban planning and sustainable development,” said Tom Corcoran, president of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.  “We were proud to have been selected from such a high caliber field of submissions,” added Corcoran.

The 2011 Commonwealth Awards Project Categories this year were: Public Infrastructure, Commercial, Housing or Community Institution, Mixed Use Development, Plans and Planning and Model Projects still in Construction.  The Jury conducted two conference call sessions to discuss and establish criteria and the review process.  It then met in Harrisburg for the better part of day to review and discuss the merits of all of the projects submitted in this year’s awards competition to select the winners.  

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