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Voices of Graffiti Pier
Port Richmond and Olde Richmond waterfronts mark the northernmost boundaries of DRWC’s planning area and have long been underserved in terms of waterfront access. While this space was historically a hub for shipping and commerce, the site has sat vacant since the 1990s. With little industrial activity happening on the site, Pier 18 at the southern edge of the site has become a popular outdoor street art gallery and open space for artists, and it has gained the name “Graffiti Pier."
The Master Plan for the Central Delaware outlined initial ideas for a new and unique waterfront park in this area. After years of advocacy by the DRWC, community advocates, and near neighbors, the opportunity to enhance Graffiti Pier as a waterfront park that preserves the cultural values of the space presented itself in early 2019. DRWC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Conrail to transfer 6 acres of their waterfront property, which includes Graffiti Pier, to DRWC for the creation of a publicly accessible park.
In the late summer of 2019, DRWC kicked off a planning and design study for Graffiti Pier and selected a multi-disciplinary team of artists, designers, and planners led by Studio Zewde (of Harlem, NY) to conduct this study, investigate the physical conditions of the pier, and provide recommendations about its future use as a public space. The team has begun to lead a comprehensive community engagement process that includes multiple stakeholder groups – artists, near neighbors, and the general public – that have used and visited the space. The goal of the project is to retain the creative spirit and cultural value of Graffiti Pier while enhancing waterfront access for the Olde Richmond and Port Richmond neighborhoods.
The first public event for the Graffiti Pier project was held on Friday, November 1st at Cherry Street Pier. The event was an open house and roundtable conversation based around two simple questions: “What is the best thing that could happen at Graffiti Pier?” and “What is the worst thing that could happen at Graffiti Pier?” Neighbors, artists, planners, community members, and other stakeholders contributed ideas and comments.
Engagement for Graffiti Pier is ongoing and the team will continue to incorporate answers to these “best” and “worst” questions and other community feedback into the design process. The next public event for the Graffiti Pier project will take place in February 2020, with the date and location TBD. Please continue to check back here or follow us on social media to stay up to date, and tell us what you think with a brief survey.
The Project's Progress
Status: Planning and Concept
Estimated Completion Date: TBD