Developers of the recreational trail along the Schuylkill near Center City are doggedly moving ahead with their latest welcome improvements.
The Schuylkill River Development Corp. is nearly ready to seek bids for work on a section of the trail at Grays Ferry. The work will include landscaping and buffering from the site of a DuPont plant nearby.
In the past eight years, SRDC and its private partners have constructed a remarkable greenway in a long-neglected part of the city, from the Waterworks to Locust Street along the east bank of the river. The recreation trail, movie nights, boat rides, and kayak tours have made the city a more enjoyable place to live and work.
As many as 16,000 people per week enjoy the trail. The goal is to build a contiguous walkway eight miles long, from the Fairmount Dam all the way to Fort Mifflin near where the river meets the Delaware.
Over the next two years, there are plans to build a footbridge over the river at Grays Ferry and a section of the trail on the western riverbank leading to Bartram's Garden. The SRDC also has about half of the funding it needs to build a half-mile-long boardwalk adjacent to South Street, which is a key middle section of the project.
Among the recent improvements is a rebuilt JFK Boulevard bridge that is more friendly to pedestrians and allows easy access to the trail.
The SRDC is working with the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the Brandywine Realty Trust to implement this valuable vision of a bucolic riverside. The effort also has received federal, state, and city grants.