Renovated Sister Cities Park latest step toward reviving Philly’s downtown corridor

Philadelphia officials have cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Sister Cities Park on Logan Square.

The Thursday ceremony marked another step toward reviving the corridor along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The invitation only-event featured speakers, the release of aphid-eating ladybugs, a procession of children with flags from Philadelphia’s 10 sister cities, and a performance by the Friends Select School Choir.

The fanfare surrounded the event, because it was not just the opening of a small public park, but the revival of what Don Kimelman of the Pew Charitable Trusts said was once a “symbol of civic neglect.”

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“The purpose is not simply to beautify but to animate, to attract people of all ages. It’s thus a big step in the Parkway’s unfolding future,” Kimelman said.

Credit for initiating the park renovation went to the man behind many downtown projects, the Center City District’s Paul Levy.

Levy reminded those at Thursday’s ceremony that this park would be one in a line of improvements envisioned stretching along the Parkway connecting the Art Museum District with downtown. Reconstruction of Dilworth Plaza at City Hall is another ongoing project.

Philadelphia’s Center City District will lease and operate the park for the city. The park offers a new branch of Philadelphia’s visitors center, a cafe, a fountain and a pond.

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