In January and February, more than 500 people joined us for our first-ever Virtual Open Houses to find out what’s happening in Fairmount Park in 2021.
Participants heard from staff at Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, as well as former Conservancy Executive Director and current Councilmember Jamie Gauthier of District 3 and representatives from the Philadelphia Water Department.
If you missed the open houses, you can view the webinars for East and West Fairmount Park here:
You can also view the slideshow presentations here.
Below you’ll find answers to frequently answered questions about Fairmount Park below, and links to resources that we shared during the open houses.
- What are the next improvement projects the Conservancy is working on in West Fairmount Park?
- What happened to Phase 2 of the Centennial Commons project from a few years ago?
- When will the Trolley Trail be complete?
- Are there any plans to address certain dangerous intersections, lack of sidewalks, etc. in Fairmount Park?
- What are the next improvement projects the Conservancy is working on in East Fairmount Park?
- What ever happened to the Mander Master Plan?
- Are the Park Hubs returning?
- What is the Conservancy doing to address trash and litter in Fairmount Park?
What are the next improvement projects the Conservancy is working on in West Fairmount Park? Some of the biggest improvement projects coming in 2021 to West Fairmount Park include:
The Ohio House: For many years, we have had our main office in Center City. Now, we are in the process of renovating Ohio House, one of the few remaining buildings from the 1876 Centennial Exposition into our headquarters. This will become a 3-acre base for our operations and an easy way for park users to access the programming, volunteer days, and other events we offer.
Chamounix Woods Restoration: A small pocket of woods by TreeTop Quest Philly on Chamounix Drive is currently undergoing an important forest restoration. Read more about this project on the My Philly Park blog.
Plus, keep reading for more improvement projects, including the Centennial Commons and the Trolley Trail.
What happened to Phase 2 of the Centennial Commons project from a few years ago? In 2018, the Conservancy partnered with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Philadelphia Streets and Philadelphia Water Department to deliver an improved neighborhood-focused edge of the park from 41st to Belmont Ave. This project, known as Parkside Edge, includes benches, swings and landscape. We are now eager to take the lessons we’ve learned from that project into the next round of projects in the Centennial District.
More immediately, you will see improvements made to the landscape between East and West Memorial Hall Drives. This 1.5-acre pocket was left out of the original Parkside Edge project, but will see similar improvements this year. There are also plans in the future to make Welsh Fountain a beautiful, gracious and safe transition into the park.
When will the Trolley Trail be complete? Fairmount Park Conservancy has been working to complete a soft surface trail that follows along the former Fairmount Park Trolley line. The Trolley Trail is designed to accommodate bikes, horses and hikers on a sustainable trail that is accessible to all users. This year, the whole 4.5-mile loop will be completed. You’ll also see improved trailheads with landscaping and signage.
Are there any plans to address certain dangerous intersections, lack of sidewalks, etc. in Fairmount Park? Through the multiple master plans conceived for West Fairmount Park, we’ve learned that park users need safe and beautiful ways to move through the park regardless of whether they are in cars, bikes, or on foot. Today, Belmont Ave., Parkside Ave. and South Concourse Drive are on the City’s High Injury Network – the 12% of streets where 80% of serious traffic injuries and deaths occur. Our efforts over the next few years are going to be focused on studying all the ways that people move through the park. This will help us identify and prioritize projects that will make park roads, paths, and walkways safe and accessible for everyone.
What are the next improvement projects the Conservancy is working on in East Fairmount Park?
Hatfield House: At Hatfield House, our conservation team will continue to restore the historic building, including its back façade and its heavily damaged wood siding. To learn more about what’s happening at the Hatfield House, visit our site here.
Horseshoe Pits: This year, we’re very excited to bring a pair of horseshoe pits to East Fairmount Park, located across from Woodford Mansion and north of the tennis courts at Mander Playground. This project began as an idea from the East Fairmount Park Coalition, who worked with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and a group of dedicated horseshoe players to get the project off the ground. We are working with members of the coalition and a selected contractor to complete the design and construction of this new recreation area by this summer.
What ever happened to the Mander Master Plan? The Conservancy completed the master planning process for Mander Playground in 2019, after a year of community meetings and open houses. The final master plan is available on our website here and we look forward to the possibility of working with the City of Philadelphia in the future to implement the plan as part of the city’s Rebuild efforts.
Are the Park Hubs returning? Yes! One of the things we’ve learned from park users and near neighbors in 2020 is what basics are needed to truly enjoy a day in the park. Chief among those needs are safe and accessible routes through the park along with restrooms, signage and handwashing stations. This past summer we piloted six Park Hubs, offering users all of those amenities.
We’re bringing back Park Hubs in 2021 and would really love to hear from you via this short survey:Where would you like to see them in Fairmount Park?
What is the Conservancy doing to address trash and litter in Fairmount Park? There’s no doubt that as Philadelphia’s parks experienced record usage this past year, they also saw an increase in litter. In addition, short dumping in Philly parks, but especially in natural areas, is an ongoing problem.
To alleviate the burden on Parks & Recreation staff, in 2020 the Conservancy launched Love Your Park Solo, a program that encouraged park-goers to clean up litter in their Philly parks. The Conservancy distributed 460 free Love Your Park Solo kits that included a face mask, trash grabbers, trash bags, and gloves. If you are interested in lending a hand to keep Philly parks clean and green, please visit loveyourpark.org.
Also, if you see illegal short dumping in Philly parks, please contact Philly 311.
- Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
- WinTOUR Scavenger Hunt
- Wildlife of Fairmount Park via INaturalist
- Fairmount Park Digital Guide
- Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center for free mulch and compost
- Architectural conservation services at Fairmount Park Conservancy
- WeWalk PHL Facebook Group
- Take a virtual tour of the Hatfield House
- More about the Hatfield House
- About the new Boxers’ Trail Gateway Project
- The relighting of Boathouse Row
- Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City Clean Waters
- East Fairmount Park Friends Groups:
- West Fairmount Park Friends Groups:
Keep in touch with Fairmount Park Conservancy by subscribing to our emails and through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For any questions beyond what was addressed in this post, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Philadelphia’s parks make a difference in your life – consider becoming a member of Fairmount Park Conservancy and help ensure that Philadelphia’s parks are enhanced for generations to come. PLUS members can enjoy FREE year round events like guided hikes, trail runs, yoga classes, and bike rides and discounts on other park experiences.