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Large, Sustainable Green Park with Many New Amenities, Programming, and Improved Access to Transit Will be Center Stage for All of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (August 19, 2014) – Mayor Michael A. Nutter will join the Center City District and other federal, state, and local funders to cut the ribbon on a transformed Dilworth Park at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 4, 2014.

The new Dilworth Park will re-establish William Penn’s original Center Square as a central gathering place for all Philadelphians – residents, workers, and tourists, providing continuous programming and information about Philadelphia’s attractions. The new park will link the Avenue of the Arts with the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and connect the office district with Market East destinations. It will provide new distinctive entrances to SEPTA’s trains and trolleys and make both the Market Street Line and the subway-surface lines accessible by elevator.

The ribbon-cutting for this transformed, welcoming public green space on the west side of the city’s historic City Hall will be followed by an all-day community arts and culture festival featuring performances and talent from neighborhoods across the city, organized by the CCD and generously presented by Comcast. This will be followed by two additional days of festivities. On Friday, September 5, from Noon to 7:00 p.m., there will be a Picnic in the Park, presented by American Express, providing an introduction for Center City’s office workers to this exciting new destination. Picnic-style lunches will be available for sale and live music will enliven the park. Sips in the Park will begin at 5:00 p.m. and continue until 7:00 p.m., with more live music and happy-hour drink specials. On Saturday, September 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., it’s Playtime in the Park, presented by KidsInCenterCity.com, with family-friendly activities including music, storytelling, games, and more. The park will have ongoing programming and activities to appeal to diverse audiences of all ages throughout the fall and will feature winter ice-skating.

At the new Dilworth Park, site of the city’s first water works and first public fountain in the 18th century, there will be a 21st century, 11,600-square-foot computer-programmable fountain fed with recycled rainwater. The park also features four tree groves with moveable chairs and tables, flower beds, benches, and a café with outdoor seating.

The café, Rosa Blanca, will be operated by Jose Garces, one of the most gifted chefs and restaurateurs in the country. To provide customers planning special events at Dilworth Park with an additional choice, catering for parties and receptions will be available both from Garces and Brûlée Catering by Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix.

In addition to all of the new activity at the park, new elevators will make transit lines more accessible and new stairs, sheltered by clear glass headhouses, will reach down from the surface level to the transit hub below, a system that transports 305,000 passengers through Center City each day. Working in partnership with SEPTA, new entrances have been created to both the Market and Broad Street Lines, turning Dilworth Park into the primary Center City transit gateway to the Sports District, to Temple University’s campuses, University City, and the balance of Philadelphia. The project also has completely reconstructed the concourse level into a new, well-lit space with clear lines-of-sight, and a range of new signs that orient transit passengers to the subway, trolley, and regional rail lines. Two LCD panels will display real-time information for five trolley routes servicing University City and West Philadelphia.

Due to five weeks of severe winter weather, the surface of the park will be 85%-90% complete on opening day, with new entrances to transit and the new concourse open and the northern two-thirds of the surface, including the café and fountain, fully operational. The remaining portion, including the lawn and walkways to South Penn Square, are scheduled to be finished between mid- and late October.

Planning and design for the $55 million transformation began in 2007, and more than 60 meetings were held with various stakeholder groups who reviewed and commented on its design. Following publicly advertised open meetings of the City of Philadelphia’s Art and Historical Commissions, City Planning Commission, and City Council, the project was formally approved. On January 30, 2012, the official groundbreaking was attended by local, state, and national leaders. A full list of public, foundation, and private funders is avalable below.

The CCD has a long-term (30-year) lease with the City to construct, maintain, and manage Dilworth Park as a public park. The CCD will assume all cleaning, site and landscape maintenance, and programming responsibilities for the park. The CCD has successfully created programming for the other parks it manages: Sister Cities Park at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway; Cret Park at 16th Street and the Parkway; and John F. Collins Park at 1707 Chestnut Street. A full schedule of events at Dilworth and other CCD parks can be found at CCDparks.org.

The renovation of Dilworth Park was designed by KieranTimberlake architects, OLIN landscape architects, and Urban Engineers. The general contractor has been Daniel J. Keating Company, with 41% of their work subcontracted to female- or minority-owned firms. The CCD’s owner’s representative for construction has been Gilbane Building Company. The construction has created more than 800 jobs with 21% of labor hours on the site staffed by minority construction workers and 4% with female construction workers.

At the Dilworth Park opening day celebration, Mayor Michael A. Nutter will help cut the ribbon, along with other dignitaries and supporters from across the city, state, and country.

“The newly renovated Dilworth Park is a refreshing, much anticipated addition to Center City,” said Mayor Nutter. “The renovation project has created jobs, and the resulting work has transformed the west side of City Hall, the people’s hall, into an inviting, green, transit-oriented park for all Philadelphians and visitors to enjoy. I thank all of the people who worked in partnership with the City to plan, design, and build the new Dilworth Park.”

Added Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the Center City District, “The Center City District is extraordinarily appreciative of the federal, state, and local public agencies that supported this project, as well as the contributions from businesses, individuals, and local foundations who believed in this project and the goal of creating one of the most vibrant civic spaces in the city. The new Dilworth Park has something for everyone, from improved transit access, to green spaces, to cultural and entertainment offerings. We want everyone to enjoy the programming we have planned and feel welcome at the center of the city.”

- Dilworth Park contributors [PDF | 221 KB]
- Dilworth Park design & construction team [PDF | 20 KB]
- Dilworth Park contractors [PDF | 20 KB]
- Historic panel: Center City Renewal [PDF | 943 KB]


The Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at www.centercityphila.org and on Facebook and Twitter.

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