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 through the fall 2017 to make Parkside safer for pedestrians by enhancing crossings that will also reduce vehicle speeds.

Construction Updates

The first phase will see construction of new safer pedestrian facilities and streetscape enhancements along Parkside Avenue and landscape enhancements to include hundreds of new ornamental plantings and trees, sitting areas, benches and bench swings. The project includes 68 new shade trees and over 42 species of perennials, grasses and shrubs covering over 67,000 square feet.

May 11:
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:
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.

October 23:
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.

View the press release for the groundbreaking

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.

The play area will be divided into three sections: the ‘Youth Area’, which will focus on nature-based and exploratory play for children in the range of 5 to 12 years of age; the ‘B’tweens Area’, which will provide a unique opportunity for play and socialization for an age group often ignored in the public realm, and the ‘Neighborhood Edge’, which will include passive recreation areas, seating and picnic areas, landscaping, a seat wall, a rain garden, and softened park edges.

Learn more about Centennial Commons.

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

Centennial Commons Aerial Rendering

Rendering of Phase I: the Neighborhood Edge area


Download high resolution renderings here.

For more information on any of our Capital Projects, contact Conservancy Project Manager Chris Dougherty by email: cdougherty@myphillypark.org or phone 215-607-3491.