After nearly a year of study, a prominent architectural-landscape company in Philadelphia will present its vision Thursday for improving the tired riverfront promenade in Burlington City.
The grassy 14 acres along the Delaware River would be transformed into a more inviting space, with new park benches beneath a grove of shade trees; winding paths; changing art installations; designated areas for concerts, kite-flying events, and children's sports; and more, said Richard Newton, an Olin Studios partner who is working on the project.
A presentation will be made at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at a special public meeting at City Hall, 525 High St.
The renderings, which have not been released, depict a "more interesting . . . more romantic" promenade that takes full advantage of the location's "amazing views of the bridge, the Delaware itself, the island, and, of course, the sunsets," Newton said in an interview.
After gathering input from the public and officials, Newton said, he and landscape architect Sally Reynolds will finalize the plans and submit them to City Council for a vote, tentatively scheduled for next month.
How the project would be financed has not yet been determined, but officials said it could be a combination of donations, state aid, and other sources.
Council President David Babula said the beautification project was a key part of the city's ambitious revitalization plans. The project could take more than three years to complete and cost $2.5 million to $5 million, he said. "That's just a ballpark figure," he said, adding that a planned development of market-rate apartments nearby might contribute to the project's funding.
"We're looking mostly to enhance and beautify that area," he said, "to make it into a tourist attraction and also an entertainment venue."
Built more than 25 years ago, the promenade is a quiet, grassy space between the Burlington-Bristol Bridge and the Oneida Boat Club, with a paved walk that stretches less than a half-mile along the river. Used occasionally by pedestrians, joggers, and boaters, the area also has a soccer field and a band shell for summer concerts.
Babula said the city was also considering a proposal to arrange concerts at the rejuvenated promenade through Live Nation. Such events could attract 2,000 to 3,000 people and stimulate new interest in the city, he said.
Newton said the promenade could also become a place for art exhibits and where children could have a small playground.
"All the events that are there now - the sports, the walking, simply relaxing, enjoying the open space and views, and being outside with the river - are still very much a part of the plan," Newton said. "But these things will continue under improved conditions. . . . The shape of the open space will be much more sinuous, more interesting . . . with more places to explore."