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FDR PARK PLAN OVERVIEW

The FDR Park Plan offers a once-in-a generation opportunity to reimagine a historic Olmsted Park to serve 21st century Philadelphians.

FDR Park is an extremely well-used and well-loved park that serves Philadelphia’s diverse, ever-changing population by providing open spaces for gathering, recreation, and enjoying nature. The park has always been and continues to be a natural oasis and welcoming space for high-need populations including immigrant and refugee communities and underserved communities. However, the park today struggles with underfunding, deferred maintenance, and frequent flooding. While the park faces many challenges, the opportunities at this 348-acre site are unique and unlike any other park in the region.

Just as park visitors experienced a remarkable feat of landscape architecture and civil engineering during the Sesquicentennial, future users will come to know FDR Park as a world-class destination for ecology, recreation, art, and design. This is also the first time in Philadelphia that a park plan has incorporated climate change projections and a comprehensive hydrology study, aligning community priorities with the realities of the hotter, wetter future our city faces.

In order to achieve this resilient vision, we must bring nature, water, and human activity into balance in one unified system. The plan is organized into two distinct zones. The Ecological Core will improve water flow and increase the park’s capacity to manage water, while providing native habitat for wildlife. Located in the heart of the park, the Ecological Core will make up 60% (209 acres) of the 348-acre park, including more natural meadows, wetlands, trails, and water access points. With the soil removed from the Ecological Core, the Urban Edge can be raised up out of the floodplain in key areas, allowing for investments that transform the perimeter of FDR Park and introduce new amenities, including a Welcome Center, accessible playgrounds, state-of-the-art athletic fields, and open lawn spaces.

During the planning process, the project team spoke to over 3,000 community members and stakeholders in 7 different languages through surveys, paid Park Ambassadors, stakeholder interviews, community meetings, and community design workshops. Since the unveiling of the FDR Park Plan in 2019, we have continued to engage with the community through hands-on workshops, public meetings, stakeholder interviews, surveys, virtual open houses, and in-person Walk and Talks. We plan to continue community engagement throughout the entire implementation of the Park Plan.

After three years of planning, construction began in 2022. The FDR Park Plan will take decades to complete. The first three phases are outlined below:

GATEWAY PHASE
2022-2023
Anna C. Verna Playground
Welcome Center
Gateway Plaza

NATURE PHASE
2022-2026
Tidal Wetland
Nature Trails
Wildflower Hill
Treehouse Woods
Nature Playground

PICNIC & PLAY PHASE
2023-2026
Fieldhouse
Courts
Fields
Playground
Picnic Plaza

FDR Park Plan FAQs
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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FDR PARK PLAN?

Please contact info@myphillypark.org with any questions or feedback about the plan.

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The FDR Park Plan has been supported by the William Penn Foundation and the office of Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.

The Gateway Project is supported by the City of Philadelphia in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Commonwealth’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, the 1772 Foundation, Widener Memorial Foundation, and Fairmount Park Conservancy.

The Ecological Core is supported by Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), PA-DEP Coastal Zone Management and National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.