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LOVE Park reopens after renovations

Love it or hate it, the iconic Philadelphia park celebrated its grand re-opening Wednesday.

Mayor Jim Kenney address the crowd gathered at the  re-dedication of LOVE Park at 15th and JFK Blvd. in Center City Philadelphia.
Mayor Jim Kenney address the crowd gathered at the re-dedication of LOVE Park at 15th and JFK Blvd. in Center City Philadelphia.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

Love it or hate it, one of Philadelphia's most famed parks celebrated its grand re-opening Wednesday.

Mayor Kenney, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, and others marked LOVE Park's return with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that also featured food, music, and more. Renovations to flatten the park — once known as a skateboarding hub — as well as add green space and a new water fountain began in February 2016.

It's been a slow return for what is officially known as John F. Kennedy Plaza, which had delays during the $26 million renovation process. The LOVE statue by artist Robert Indiana, who recently died at the age of 89, was reinstalled in February after undergoing its own facelift.

Here's a look at the new park and scenes from Wednesday's reopening:

The conical fountain was turned on in LOVE Park as part of the dedication ceremony.

The festivities continued into the evening with a fund-raising event featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff hosted by Friends of LOVE Park.

Despite its just-reopened status, the park has already faced criticism for its wide, flat design. Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron called the space a "granite Sahara."

"The new LOVE Park is a sanded-down version of the old LOVE Park, its rough edges removed and reduced to a generic, two-dimensional drawing," Saffron wrote in April.

>> READ MORE: LOVE Park was supposed to be the People's Park. How did it end up as a granite Sahara? | Inga Saffron

>> READ MORE: New LOVE Park is graceless instead of gritty; is that the kind of Philly we want to live in? | Opinion

Social media users have also voiced complaints about the redesigned park.

There are more events in store for the park. The city is planning on a busy summer lineup, with concerts, table games, food trucks at the park, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell told the Inquirer and Daily News last month.