State grants $2.7 million for parks and recreation projects in Philly

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced $28 million in grants for parks and recreation projects across Pennsylvania on Thursday, including $2.7 million for nine projects in Philadelphia.

The grants will fund the acquisition of land along the Tacony and Frankford creeks in Northeast Philly, help pay for improvements to Columbus Square Park in South Philadelphia, and fund design work for portions of the Pennypack Trail and the Spring Garden Greenway.

“Our communities thrive economically when people want to stay and businesses want to grow and these beautiful public spaces and new recreational areas help improve the quality of life across our commonwealth,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a press release.   

Columbus Square Park, in Passyunk Square, has a planned redesign paid for in part by the Community Design Collaborative and the William Penn Foundation has contributed more than $1 million toward improvements. The state announced a $300,000 grant for the project on Thursday.

“While I am very pleased about all of these new investments for places in the First Senate District, I am especially pleased to see the approval of $300,000 for Columbus Square Park,” said State Senator Larry Farnese, in a press release. “The plans for the renovation of this place will positively impact generations of Philadelphians.”

The William Penn Foundation also made grants for the Spring Garden Greenway, a planned redesign of Spring Garden Street that would bring pedestrian and bike improvements to the thoroughfare and connect it to both the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. DCNR will contribute $400,000 to the project.

Other local grantees are listed below, copied from the DCNR release.

  • $350,000 to Natural Lands Trust for the acquisition of approximately 35 acres along the Tacony Creek in the City of Philadelphia for open space, passive recreation and access to the Tacony Creek.

  • $300,000 to the city for rehabilitation and further development of Columbus Square Park, Philadelphia City. Work to include construction of passive seating area, walkways and permeable pavers, and rain garden; installation of required safety surfacing to existing play areas, spray feature, lighting and utilities; ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.

  • $400,000 to the city for payment toward the acquisition of approximately 1.9 acres located along Frankford Creek in the City of Philadelphia for open space, passive recreation and the development of the Frankford Creek Greenway.

  • $188,000 to the City for rehabilitation of Gorgas Park, Philadelphia City. Work to include construction of stormwater management structures, pedestrian walkway and parking area; renovation of ballfield; installation of fencing; ADA access, landscaping, site amenities, project sign and other related site improvements.

  • $350,000 to the City for rehabilitation of Lanier Playground, Philadelphia City. Work to include construction of spray pad, softball field, multi-purpose field, volleyball court, dog park, pedestrian walkways, fitness equipment, rain garden with bridge and stormwater management structures; installation of lighting, play equipment with required safety surfacing and fencing; ADA access, interpretive signage, landscaping, site amenities, project sign and other related site improvements.

  • $388,000, to the City for rehabilitation and further development of Markward at Schuylkill River Park, Philadelphia City. Work to include construction of retaining walls, paving, and stormwater management control measures; installation of water feature, site lighting and utilities; ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.

  • $60,000 to the City for design for approximately 1 mile of the Pennypack Trail in Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County from the Interstate 95 Overpass to Rhawn Street. Work to include drawings, specifications, and related documents.

  • $400,000 to the Streets Department for design for approximately 2.1 miles of the Spring Garden Street Greenway from the Delaware River Trail to the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County. Work to include drawings, specifications, and related documents.

  • $250,000, to the Department of Commerce for development of the Delaware River Trail in Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County. Work to include construction of approximately 0.75 miles of trail from Washington Avenue to Pier 70 Boulevard; ADA access, landscaping, project sign, signage and other related site improvements.


See all the projects receiving DCNR grants here.

Note: A previous version of this article misidentified the name of the Natural Lands Trust. PlanPhilly regrets the error.

Columbus Square Park Redesign | Community Design Collaborative
Columbus Square Park Redesign | Community Design Collaborative

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