East Fairmount Park

The “New Fairmount Park” plan seeks to improve neighborhood access into the park while supporting interventions that allow users to engage with natural systems–like creek valleys–in a balanced and ecologically sensitive way.

Enhancing the visibility of these creek corridors improves our understanding of the interplay between urban and natural systems. They can be great teaching tools and laboratories for understanding urban watersheds. They can also serve as connections down from the park’s highlands to the banks of the Schuylkill.

Randolph Creek is a small tributary of the Schuylkill River with its headwaters beginning roughly west of Mander Recreation Center’s baseball field. Randolph Creek’s name derives from the last owner of Laurel Hill, Sarah Randolph, who sold Laurel Hill to the City in 1868. The creek is roughly on axis with Diamond Drive and the Mander Recreation Center Gateway. The New Fairmount Park plan envisions a more clearly demarcated shared-use entry off 33rd St. drawing park users to a great decision point: access new trails in the Discovery Center at Strawberry Mansion Lake or head down Randolph Creek via the Boxers’ Trail.

Following the adoption of the New Fairmount Park plan in May 2014, the Fairmount Park Conservancy began preparatory planning work to establish a safe pedestrian corridor from Mander Recreation Center at 33rd and Diamond to an informal trailhead at Randolph Creek and down a gravel path adjacent to Randolph Creek to a landing just east of Kelly Drive and the Schuylkill River Trail.

To create the corridor, investments will be made in the following areas:

Improved Mander sprayground will demonstrate the connectivity of the built environment to the Schuylkill river watershed, reinforcing the accessibility of natural ecosystems from the neighborhood edge.

Maps & signage at Mander will direct users to the Randolph Creek trail, making this connection legible and accessible

Trail and landscape enhancements will seek to connect the trail experience to the creek by selective invasive removals, interpretive signage and vegetation control

Landscape improvements to the landing at Kelly Drive will create a gateway and draw Schuylkill River Trail users up the slope

A pedestrian activated traffic control device will assure safe passage across Kelly Drive