The William Penn Foundation announced Friday that it will give $2 million toward construction of a 10-acre park in a once-industrialized area on the Delaware River in Philadelphia’s Bridesburg section.
The money will go to the Riverfront North Partnership, a nonprofit that focuses on transforming blighted sections of riverfront. The partnership is overseeing planning and construction of the project along with Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department. The park will be owned by the city.
The park, which will cost about $10 million overall, 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 to build a continuous 11-mile stretch of parks and trails along the Delaware River from Port Richmond to Torresdale.
The Bridesburg park is being designed by Langan Engineering, and the first phase of construction is estimated to be complete by 2021 at a cost of $4.7 million. Officials say the William Penn Foundation money will go toward construction as well as hiring a staffer to reach out to Bridesburg residents as part of a community engagement effort. But officials still need to find millions more to complete construction. Plans call for an event space, stage, and boardwalk with views of the Betsy Ross and Tacony-Palmyra Bridges.
“Receiving this generous funding from William Penn Foundation, and our partnership with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the City of Philadelphia, enables us to work with our community to create a river park that is an integral part of life for our neighbors, as well as a citywide destination,” Stephanie Phillips, executive director of Riverfront North Partnership, said in a news release.
“I am so excited that the William Penn Foundation has decided to fund this transformative parks project,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia parks and recreation commissioner.
Judilee Reed, program director for creative communities at the William Penn Foundation, said the project will revitalize the site of a former concrete factory along the river.
“We are thrilled that this park will add to a constellation of public spaces and access points along the river,” Reed said.
The second phase of construction is slated for 2025 and estimated at an additional $4 million to $5 million.