Exciting News!

Construction Begins on Picnic & Play Phase of FDR Park Revitalization

by Fairmount Park Conservancy on May 14, 2024

This month, work began on the Picnic & Play Phase of the FDR Park Plan, an historic investment in a sustainable and inclusive future for South Philadelphia’s FDR Park. 

While construction efforts are underway, the former golf course area on the western edge of the park is closed to the public for the safety of park users and the construction teams. 

“We look forward to the continued progress of work at FDR Park, which will deliver a revitalized space that is more resilient in the face of climate change and equitable in its amenities and access to the community of South Philadelphia,” said Susan Slawson, Parks & Recreation Commissioner, City of Philadelphia. 

“We’re pleased to be making progress on a crucial piece of FDR Park’s revitalization,” said Maura McCarthy, Fairmount Park Conservancy CEO. “Picnic & Play reflects the wishes and needs that community members have shared with us, by integrating natural lands and play spaces with critical stormwater management infrastructure to ensure the park’s long-term survival in a wetter, hotter climate. While construction continues, we encourage park visitors to check out all the other highlights of this 348-acre park – from the recently-restored Pattison Lagoon to the incredible Southeast Asian Market, and all the paths and playgrounds in between.” 

The City of Philadelphia, Fairmount Park Conservancy, and partners have begun the “Picnic & Play” phase of FDR Park’s revitalization. The first stage of this project is elevating the park’s surface and constructing stormwater management systems to address persistent flooding in the area. 

Future stages of the work in Picnic & Play will deliver:

  • Basketball courts
  • Picnic groves
  • Play areas  
  • Performance turf fields featuring all-natural infill

About the FDR Park Plan

FDR Park is an historic, urban estuary park that serves Philadelphia’s diverse, ever-changing population as a space for gathering, recreation, and enjoying nature.  Unfortunately, in recent decades the park has faced deferred maintenance and frequent flooding. Without action, much of the park will be underwater in 20 years. 

In response to the park’s challenges, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation created the FDR Park Plan as a blueprint for revitalization, balancing nature, water, and human activity in one unified park. 

The Park Plan reflects feedback and insight from extensive and ongoing community engagement. In the initial round of community engagement, more than 3,000 community members and stakeholders shared their ideas and feedback in five languages. Public outreach has continued now that work is underway; Fairmount Park Conservancy has held more than 250 hours of public engagement for the FDR Park Plan during the past two years alone. 

The resulting Park Plan addresses urgent community needs and inequities, and is also Philadelphia’s largest, most public-facing investment in climate resilience that builds better, more diverse access for everyone in the city.

Learn more about the FDR Park Plan

Renderings provided by WRT Design.