Graffiti Pier Park Project 

  • 19drwc graffiti pier photo by joel wolfram for whyy
The Delaware River waterfront in the Port Richmond and Olde Richmond neighborhoods mark the northern most boundaries of DRWC’s planning area and have long been underserved in terms of waterfront access. Approximately 150 acres of waterfront land in this area is owned by the railroad company Conrail. While this space was historically an industrial hub for the City, the site has sat vacant in recent decades. 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 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 DRWC, community advocates and near neighbors, the opportunity to enhance the Graffiti Pier as a waterfront park that preserves the cultural values of the pier has presented itself. In early 2019, DRWC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Conrail to transfer 6 acres of their waterfront property, including Graffiti Pier, to DRWC for the creation of a publicly accessible park.

In the late summer of 2019, DRWC kicked off a comprehensive planning and design study for Graffiti Pier and surrounding area. The organization selected a multi-disciplinary team of artists, designers and planners led by Studio Zewde of Harlem, New York to conduct this study, which will investigate the physical conditions of the pier and provide recommendations about its future use as a public space. The team will also 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.