Local landscape architecture and urban design firm Studio Bryan Hanes has been hired to lead the team creating a new fishing focused park at Pier 68, behind the Columbus Boulevard Walmart in South Philadelphia.
The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s board of directors executive committee voted to award a not-to-exceed $1 million contract with Studio Bryan Hanes at its recent December meeting. The Studio’s other local work includes The Penn Treaty Master Plan, The Columbia Avenue Connector and Sister City’s Park.
DRWC planners say places to fish are in high demand on the waterfront. The new design will include fish-cleaning stations, and likely also places to temporarily dock small boats, such as kayaks. Wetlands will be created.
DRWC Planner/Project Manager Lizzie Woods said Studio Bryan Hanes was chosen from 7 firms who responded to the RFP. Not only has DRWC worked with the firm before, on the Columbia Avenue Connector, but the team Hanes has assembled for this project has worked together on Sister Cities Park, Woods said. This includes Bittenbender Construction; DIGSAU Architects; Stantec, which is providing civil engineering services; and Azavea, a company specializing in geographic web and mobile software.
Planning Committee Chairwoman Marilyn Jordan Taylor, dean of the Penn School of Design, called the social media aspects of the project “a compact, but interesting investigation into using social media and other forms of communication. It might just be part of the (design) process, but there may be some ongoing extension of that, with outreach to different audiences.”
Woods said after the meeting the hope is that users of the future park will be able to both give and receive information via social media, from tidal reports to pictures of fish that were caught that day to birds that were spotted.
Taylor said there are real opportunities to attract people who are shopping at the nearby Home Depot or Walmart. Perhaps one parent will shop while the other takes kids fishing, she said.
DRWC President Tom Corcoran noted that when the project’s RFP was released, the budget was $750,000. The budget increase comes from a recently awarded $250,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Woods said design work will begin as soon as the contract is finalized. The first public meeting will be held sometime in January. The goal is to open the park by the second week of August, when a Bassmasters fishing tournament will be held here.
In other DRWC news:
-The RBA Group, which designed the Penn Street portion of the Central Delaware Waterfront Trail, was awarded a $1,050,000 contract to lead a design and engineering team for the remaining sections of the trail: North, South and the on-road portion in the center, plus related environmental clearances.
-Taylor reported the design committee is continuing to work with Hargreaves on the new Penn’s Landing. “They are moving along with exactly what we wanted, (helping us in) understanding the realities of this project and the real opportunities as the market begins to get a little bit stronger,” she said. “We are hoping to endorse in the next couple of months a phased plan that could start in the basin fairly early, and that is also focused on what it is going to take to get the Penn’s Landing Park in position to move forward.” Taylor is referring to the park that would cap a portion of I-95 and Delaware Avenue. A second public meeting will take place in late January, she said.
-Jodie Milkman, DRWC Vice President for Marketing, Programming and Corporate Partnerships, told the committee about the opening of the 20th anniversary season of the Blue Cross River Rink. This year, a “collaboration of partners on the waterfront” introduced Winterfest at Penn’s Landing. The area around the rink now boasts a pop-up restaurant, fire pit seating, lighted trees, a holiday light show and a marketplace, she said. Even people who aren’t skating are coming to hang out by the water, she said. To learn more, watch the video. Milkman made the first presentation, which includes a slide show of Winterfest photos.