The Conservancy has been working closely with the Parkside community to envision and deliver on improvements to the edge of West Fairmount Park, creating a sense of parks within a larger park. But the Parkside Edge is more than just swings, seats, benches and trashcans set in lush plantings; we recognize that Parkside Avenue itself is a barrier to entering the park. With this in mind, work continues to make Parkside safer for pedestrians by enhancing crossings that will also reduce vehicle speeds.

Project Background

With the support of the William Penn Foundation in 2013, the Conservancy commissioned Studio|Bryan Hanes to develop a plan that engages residents and visitors in active, educational and exploratory play and recreation within a key portion of Fairmount Park’s Centennial District.

The site, which was the central hub of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, has a rich history, but has been left under-developed and under-supported for decades. In the summer of 2014, the Conservancy engaged Studio | Bryan Hanes to design and implement the project in three phases, beginning with the design of the Neighborhood Edge component of the project.

Studio|Bryan Hanes was tasked with developing a program and concepts for a public space that will elicit the regular participation of the Parkside community while also drawing on a regional audience of visitors. In active collaboration with the community and adjacent stakeholders, a program for the site has emerged that provides for attractive spaces for a variety of constituents.

Today, the Neighborhood Edge’ features passive recreation areas, seating and picnic areas, landscaping, a seat wall, a rain garden, and softened park edges. It is home to various community events throughout the year, including Parkside Fresh Food Fest, movie nights, and more.

More transformations for Centennial Commons are on the way.

This project is made possible thanks to William Penn Foundation, Knight Foundation, Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Streets Department and Philadelphia Department of Commerce.

Centennial Commons Master Plan

Project Updates

2021: A series of pedestrian safety improvements are underway for Parkside that will create a safer and more accessible way for Parkside residents and West Philadelphia to enjoy Fairmount Park.

June 13, 2018: The Conservancy and Parks & Recreation celebrated the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of Centennial Commons Phase 1 with city officials, partners, and the Parkside community!

April 2, 2018: The custom benches have been installed at Parkside Edge, and the bench swings will be installed later this month.

January 2018:
The Parkside Edge is open but we’re not done yet! Our bench suppliers are busy putting the finishing touches on the custom benches and bench swings and our contractor is ready to install these in the middle of February 2018.

October 23,2017:
Work continues on the neighborhood rooms in preparation for the new swings, benches and granite seats. Streetscape work will continue into November due to PennDOT’s road resurfacing project.

May 11, 2017:
During planning for Phase I of our Centennial Commons project, two separate tree experts determined that 40 trees were found to be hazards due to disease, rot and decline and should be removed. The design for Phase I of Centennial Commons calls for the replacement of every tree which we take very seriously.

April 21, 2017:
Fairmount Park Conservancy broke ground on Centennial Commons on April 20th.  View the full press release. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Fairmount Park Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia including Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia Commerce Department, and Philadelphia Streets Department, announced the award of a contract to Seravalli, Inc., for construction to begin immediately and be completed in Fall 2017.

View the press release for the grand opening

For more information on any of our Capital Projects, contact our Chief Projects Officer Allison Schapker by email or phone 215.709.0491.