Part of Penn’s Landing literally goes to the dogs

Yo Philly dogs! Tell your people there’s a new place to play on the Delaware River.

Old City residents Mike Daddario and Jeff Meteer brought their dogs and one they were pet-sitting to the new Penn’s Landing dog park Sunday.

Winston the Weimaraner and Teddy the Labradoodle looked pretty darn happy running around the fenced-in 10th of an acre. Daddario and Meteer brought their canine friends after reading a notice about the park, which opened earlier this month, at a neighborhood pet shop.

“Living in Old City, there’s hardly any green space,” Daddario said. “It’s nice to have somewhere they can run around” off-leash.

Located between Delaware Avenue and the river at Market Street, the dog park features a grove of mature trees, benches for the humans and a water station for the dogs. The black fencing divides the park into two areas, so large dogs and small ones can be separate. There’s also bags and a waste disposal station. There was no evidence of misbehaving owners failing to use those things on Sunday.

The $80,000 park was paid for by the Central Delaware Waterfront Corporation, which manages Penn’s Landing and other city-owned land along the river and is overseeing the implementation of the city’s long range plan for redevelopment of the Central Delaware.

That includes both big projects, like the still-evolving plans to re-do the entirety of Penn’s Landing and beyond with a giant, sloping park space that would cap I-95 and the Delaware River and encourage development that would create whole new neighborhoods at the water’s edge.

Planner Lizzie Woods said this park isn’t meant to drastically change its little part of the world at the base of the Market Street steps to Penn’s Landing. But it can make a big difference to dogs and their humans who live nearby.

“We really heard from neighbors, particularly those who live in the Piers 3 and 5 condos, that it’s an amenity they’d like to see,” said Woods, who says she sees many dog walkers in the middle of the workday.

The park is actually drawing users from further away than expected, Woods said. “We’ve had people come all the way from Waterfront Square.”

If the money can be raised to further develop and implement plans for a new Penn’s Landing, the current dog park would likely be placed elsewhere, Woods said.

The new park was discussed at the recent Central Delaware Advocacy Group meeting, and Vice Chairman Joe Schiavo said it not only created an immediate amenity, but a gauge to help judge future Penn’s Landing Park uses in the future.

“It’s not really redevelopment in Philadelphia if it doesn’t involve a dog park,” CDAG Chairman Matt Ruben quipped. “ Now the Central Delaware has finally arrived.”

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