Organizers of a planned 10-acre park along the waterfront in Philadelphia’s Bridesburg section say they have received a $1.4 million PennDot grant, completing the fundraising needed to begin construction of the long-awaited project next year.

“Bridesburg has been waiting for this park for decades, and I’m so happy that it is finally happening,” Joseph Slabinski III, a Bridesburg resident and business leader, said in a statement from the nonprofit Riverfront North Partnership.

The Riverfront North Partnership is overseeing planning and construction of the project with Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department. The park, which will be owned by the city, has been a dream for residents since it was conceived in 2015.

The park is estimated to cost just under $10 million. It will eventually connect to an existing 2.2-mile trail along Delaware Avenue from Allegheny Avenue to Orthodox Street. Ultimately, Riverfront North Partnership’s goal is an 11-mile stretch of parks and trails along the Delaware River from Port Richmond to Torresdale.

Map of the site for the Riverfront Park in Bridesburg. Highlighted is Phase One.
Courtesy of Riverfront North Partnership
Map of the site for the Riverfront Park in Bridesburg. Highlighted is Phase One.

“Riverfront North is committed to connecting people back to their river,” said Stephanie Phillips, executive director of the partnership. “If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that our parks are an integral part of our physical and mental well-being.”

The $1.4 million from the state Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Transportation Fund, combined with a $2 million grant last year from the William Penn Foundation and other funding, amounted to about $4.7 million, enough to start construction in 2021 with completion by 2022, according to Lindsay Brzowski of the Riverfront North Partnership.

The park will be built in two phases, with the initial round of fundraising being enough to complete the first phase in 2022. The park will have riverfront views, play areas, parking, and a restroom.

When complete, the park will have not only trails, but a meadow with views of the Betsy Ross and Tacony-Palmyra Bridges.

Birdseye view of the Bridesburg Riverfront Park lower lawn.
Courtesy of Riverfront North Partnership
Birdseye view of the Bridesburg Riverfront Park lower lawn.

Riverfront North and the city are trying to raise an additional $5 million for the second phase, scheduled to begin in 2026. That phase will include a stage pavilion, picnic pavilion, terraced lawn seating, and a river boardwalk.

“Bridesburg Riverfront Park will be a beautiful space to explore in the district, and it’s great to see funding come to the area to help make possible,” State Rep. Joseph C. Hohenstein (D., Phila.) said in a statement.

Kathryn Ott Lovell, the city’s parks and recreation commissioner, said the new park will be “one of the most dynamic and welcoming parks in our system.”

Conditions at Bridesburg Riverfront Park in 2020, prior to construction, with Betsy Ross Bridge in the background.
Courtesy of Riverfront North Partnership
Conditions at Bridesburg Riverfront Park in 2020, prior to construction, with Betsy Ross Bridge in the background.