Dreams of covering sections of I-95 with a park connecting Old City Philadelphia to the Delaware River are a small step closer to reality. Today the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation chose a consultant experienced in urban parks and waterfront design to help the city.
Waterfront Corporation President Tom Corcoran said now the consultant will take the concept that was imagined in the master plan for redeveloping Penn’s Landing, and put it to the test.
“Hargreaves Associates’ job is to make sure that all aspects of the plan can work,” said Corcoran, including “the structural issues that would be involved in capping over this one block of I-95 between Walnut and Chestnut, to look at how the 8-acre park would be designed above the highway and then sloping down to the river.”
Corcoran said it’s also important to look at private investment opportunities that can be created alongside the park.
Marilyn Jordan Taylor, a Waterfront Corporation board member and Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, said the area has seen some recent improvements, but it’s not enough.
“We’re thrilled to death about Race Street Pier and things that are going on with the bike trail up and down but as the market re-emerges we want to be sure we’re ready to be in the game of attracting private investment,” said Taylor. “As the market improves, as the cranes are in the sky, we have an opportunity to come to the really important high image centerpiece of the Delaware River waterfront.”
Supporters of the waterfront redesign hope it will help connect the city to the river, and will offer recreational opportunities that would be good for residents and visitors.