Published on February 28 2022
  • drwc wint021 10yearanniv social 2b 1

Did you know that all the amazing public spaces along the Delaware River Waterfront from Pier 68 to Race Street Pier are part of a Master Plan?

Did you know this Master Plan took 2.5 years to complete? Yes, 2.5 years of intensive work by consultants, staff, and neighbors to create a plan to reinvigorate six miles of waterfront from Port Richmond to Pennsport. 

And did you know that since this Master Plan was adopted by the City Planning Commission in March 2012 that it has transformed how Philly has been able to connect to its waterfront?

  • drwc wint021 10yearanniv social 1 1

Whether you were in the know or learning this for the first time, we invite you to join us in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of this Master Plan for the Central Delaware, which serves as a roadmap to guide new development along the Delaware River Waterfront.  From economic development, community development, to open space, the Master Plan for the Central Delaware provides us and the City with the tools it needs to create more of the spaces and experiences that have become distinctly Philly.

Let the commemoration commence as we shout out the top 10 milestones from the last 10 years to set the stage for many, many, many more exciting things to come:

1: FOUR brand new public parks for you to enjoy

Since 2011, DRWC has been diligently working to create public parks where all are welcome to experience the beauty of the Delaware River Waterfront. And with that came  Race Street Pier, Washington Avenue Pier, Pier 68, and Cherry Street Pier, places where you can gather, reflect, appreciate the arts, as well as the surrounding ecology.  They provide access to the waterfront in ways that have not been experienced before in our city, and because of this, we are immensely proud of how these spaces have enriched the landscape, and we hope you are, too. 

2: THREE reimagined public spaces for you to visit 

What can be done with an empty parking lot and an unused barge? Transform them into Philly’s premiere seasonal destinations, of course.  In the last 10 years, we have dreamed up Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, and Spruce Street Harbor Park, which became some of the region's most sought-after travel destinations. Whether you want to ice skate, roller skate, kick back in a hammock, spend the afternoon enjoying boardwalk games, and rides, or indulge in local cuisine by nationally acclaimed restaurateurs or up-and-comers, these seasonal spaces have become Philly favorites. And guess what? Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest are heading back this spring. More exciting info coming soon. 

3 and 4: FIVE new connector streets that enable you to access the waterfront more easily

Our mission is to bring Philly closer to the Delaware River Waterfront and what better way to do that than by upgrading the surrounding streets that lead directly to us. Not only are our efforts focused on safety, but also innovative designs that enhance the neighborhood the streets are connected to. Since the adoption of the Master Plan, we have completed the Race Street Connector, Spring Garden Connector, as well as Columbia Avenue, Marlborough Street,  and Shackamaxon Street. The connector streets that we’re tackling now are Frankford and Washington Avenues, which we know you’re gonna love, too. 

  • Spring Garden Connector NE Corner Purple

5 and 6: TWO new parks are in design and ONE park is close to construction, which gives you, even more, to look forward to

We pride ourselves on being the home of some of the city’s most beloved public spaces and know the two new parks in the pipeline will be no exception. We’re deep into the design phase for two new amazing public spaces -- Graffiti Pier Park and South Wetlands Park. Graffiti Pier has become famous in Philly for being a place of creative expression and the new design maintains that spirit, whereas South Wetlands Park (the area south of the base of Tasker Street through Pier 70 Boulevard) will celebrate and improve the unique ecological habitat of the Delaware River while providing more space for river access and environmental education.

And not only are these two parks in design, but the game-changing Park at Penn’s Landing is also getting excitingly close to construction! That’s right, after many years of design, engineering, and public engagement, this 11.5-acre park on Penn’s Landing that will cap I-95, will connect Philly back to the waterfront in a new and transformative way is just about to get started. Check out these cool new designs of the park released in 2021 to showcase how far we’ve come in the process.  

7: TWO new development projects are on the horizon just for you 

Two priority development sites are in progress -- the Spring Garden development site (formerly known as Festival Pier) and Penn’s Landing. The Spring Garden development will be a mixed-use development with both residential and commercial spaces overlooking the Delaware River, as well as feature a publicly accessible walking path that will frame the site along the water’s edge. And Penn’s Landing, of which the new Park at Penn’s Landing is the centerpiece, is also underway. In September 2019, DRWC selected The Durst Organization as the master developer of the Penn’s Landing section of the waterfront. This will bring exciting new residential and retail opportunities, building upon all the great amenities already at Penn’s Landing. Look for more news on both these developments soon. 

  • Durst Penn's Landing Market Street View

8: More than THREE miles of the Delaware River Trail completed (halfway to our goal) for you to walk, bike, and jog year-round

In 2019, North (Rivers Casino to Penn Treaty Park) and South (Tasker Avenue to Pier 70) segments of the Delaware River Trail were completed and gave you access to run, bike, and jog safely in these areas. Now the Central portion of the trail is complete,  and it provides more than three miles of a continued multimodal trail for you to enjoy featuring large sculptural wood benches, solar light poles, and more than 400 new trees and shrubs. This major segment of the trail provides greater accessibility to all the parks, restaurants, hotels, and amenities you love along the Waterfront. 

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9 and 10: MILLIONS of smiles and memories thanks to your continued support

The icing on the cake has been seeing you enjoy your waterfront. From gliding across the ice at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, singing out loud at a smooth Jazz concert on the Great Plaza, or watching the fireworks ignite the night sky; to countless hours lounging in hammocks at Spruce Street Harbor Park, and numerous strolls through the Gallery at Cherry Street Pier, thank you for 10 years of amazing memories and we look forward to another decade of fantastic experiences with you, Philly!