Linda K. Harris, Director of Communications
THE ALL-NEW DILWORTH PARK OPENS TO THE PUBLIC
Daylong celebration features the talents of community arts and culture groups from across the entire city. Two more days of special events to follow.
PHILADELPHIA (September 4, 2014) – Today, thanks to federal, state, City, SEPTA and CCD capital funding, the all-new Dilworth Park, the city’s new central gathering place, officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration. The new park provides new distinctive entrances to SEPTA’s trains and trolleys and makes both the Market Street Line and the subway-surface lines accessible by elevator.
Joining Mayor Michael A. Nutter in cutting the ribbon for Dilworth Park was Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz; Matthew Welbes, Executive Director, Federal Transit Administration; Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley; SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey; City Council President Darrell L. Clarke; Dr. Janet Haas, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, William Penn Foundation; Paula Fryland, Regional President Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, PNC; LeAnn Talbot, Senior Vice President, Comcast Freedom Region; and Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the Center City District.
“It’s exciting to open the newly renovated Dilworth Park, a much anticipated addition to Center City,” said Mayor Nutter. “In addition to creating jobs, the renovation project 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 am grateful to all of the people who worked in partnership with the City to plan, design, and build the new Dilworth Park.”
Temple University’s marching band and a diverse array of talented singers, dancers, and performers from neighborhoods across the city enlivened the park for the entire day and kicked off the fall season of programmed events. The daylong celebration was programmed by the CCD and presented by Comcast.
The CCD will provide continuous programming at new Dilworth Park throughout the fall as well as information about Philadelphia’s attractions and cultural and civic events throughout the City.
“Dilworth Park provides a vibrant new gateway to public transportation for thousands of people in the heart of downtown Philadelphia who travel by transit every day,” said Matthew Welbes, Executive Director, Federal Transit Administration. “Our communities nationwide will benefit from more projects like it. The Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act would provide the long-term funding necessary for public transportation systems, roads and bridges across the United States.”
The celebration will continue on Friday, September 5, from Noon to 7:00 p.m., with 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., the festivities will focus on family-friendly activities for Playtime in the Park, presented by KidsInCenterCity.com, with music, storytelling, games, and more.
On Tuesday, September 9, the park’s ongoing programming and activities make their debut with Pictures in the Park at dusk. The movie will be Captain America: The Winter Soldier (PG-13). (For a complete list of activities, please go to ccdparks.org/dilworth-park/dilworth-park-events, or centercityphila.org/docs/dilworth_brochure.pdf.) The fall will bring Octoberfest in Dilworth Park and the winter will be a lot more fun, thanks to the new ice-skating rink!
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.
At the new Dilworth Park, site of the city’s first water works and first public fountain in the 18th century, there is 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, now open and operated by Jose Garces, one of the most gifted chefs and restaurateurs in the country, will provide coffee, sandwiches, cocktails after 5:00 p.m., and more. 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.
Due to five weeks of severe winter weather, the surface of the park is 85% complete and 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. The Dilworth Park project received $15 million in TIGER II funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation and a matching $15.5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A full list of public, foundation, and private funders is attached.
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.
“The new Dilworth Park has something for everyone, from improved transit access, to green spaces, to cultural and entertainment offerings,” said 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. We want everyone to enjoy this new public space and the programming we have planned to enliven even more the center of the city.”
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.