On Wednesday, May 22, Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, WRT, and Friends of FDR Park, celebrated the future of FDR Park with the unveiling of the FDR Park Master Plan. Hundreds of park users, South Philly residents, stakeholders, and community members came together to celebrate and view the Master Plan in person, enjoy food trucks, lawn games, a photo booth, and a speaking program with partners and city officials.
“This is the kind of project Fairmount Park Conservancy exists to support,” said John Gattuso, Board President of Fairmount Park Conservancy, during the speaking program. He was joined by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, Senator Larry Farnese, Managing Director Brian Abernathy, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, and Friends of FDR Park President Todd Pride.
WRT and the Conservancy solicited significant community input throughout the year-long planning process. The project team spoke to nearly 3,000 community members and stakeholders. These conversations took place in seven languages and in settings that ranged from online surveys, canvassing in the park, two public open houses, several small design workshops, and more than 30 stakeholder meetings.
The extensive community feedback revealed that South Philly and FDR Park users most valued opportunities to connect with nature and to enjoy safe walking and biking trails. “We live in a changing city, we live in a changing country. There are elements of this park that should remain the same and there are elements of this park that need to change,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.
The FDR Park Master Plan offers a once-in-a generation opportunity to reimagine a historic Olmsted Park to serve 21st century Philadelphians. Some of the proposed features include:
- The Marsh: Expanding Shedbrook Creek to offer Philadelphians a way to explore by kayak or canoe for the first time in the park’s history.
- The Hill: Rising 36 feet above FDR Park, the Hill will give visitors stunning views of the park and the city skyline.
- Franklin 5k: A roughly 3.1-mile multi-use trail that will connect visitors with the diverse range of experiences available at the park.
And much more. To view the master plan, click here.
So what’s in store first for the future FDR Park? At the celebration, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation announced that funds have been allocated to repair the potholes throughout the park and repair the roof on the Guardhouse. William Penn Foundation is underwriting a pilot for a dedicated park manager to work collaboratively with partners to care for and program the park in new, engaging ways. In addition, the Philadelphia International Airport announced its commitment to help implement the first phase of work, a 40-acre mitigation wetland that will provide important wildlife habitat and access to nature.
FDR Park has always been a product of human invention and imagination and it will continue to be in this resilient vision for the historic park.
At the celebration, visitors had the opportunity to picture themselves in the future FDR Park with a fun photo booth! Check out some fun GIFs below.
To view more photos from the FDR Park Master Plan Celebration, click here.
The FDR Park Master Plan was made possible thanks to the William Penn Foundation, the Office of Kenyatta Johnson, and Friends of FDR Park.