Philadelphia, PA - City and state officials, philanthropic organizations, cultural and business leaders, neighbors and civic groups joined Center City District (CCD) President and CEO Paul R. Levy and members of the public for a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the official opening of Phase 1 of the Rail Park, a $10.8 million construction project that has transformed a blighted section of the former Reading Railroad Viaduct into an elevated park with walking paths, landscaping, lighting, swinging benches, and expansive city views. The project also included the reconstruction, landscaping and lighting of the 1300 block of Noble Street.
Those joining to cut the ribbon on the park’s opening day included Dennis Davin, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; Janet Haas, Board Chair, William Penn Foundation; Patrick J. Morgan, Philadelphia program director, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Jim Kenney, Mayor, City of Philadelphia; Michael DiBerardinis, Managing Director, City of Philadelphia; Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner, Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation; Kevin Dow, Executive Director, Friends of the Rail Park; and Paul R. Levy, President and CEO, Center City District.
The first phase of the eagerly awaited 25,000-square-foot park starts across from the former Philadelphia Inquirer building at Broad and Noble streets, includes the 1300 block of Noble, and runs southeast across 12th and 13th streets to Callowhill Street. Designed by Studio Bryan Hanes and Urban Engineers, the park is a much-needed green amenity to the Callowhill and Chinatown North neighborhoods on Center City’s northern edge. It was funded through a combination of state, city, foundation and private resources.
“It has been a top priority of my administration to bring recreation opportunities and green space to all neighborhoods,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Every community deserves to have vibrant, public spaces where everyone is welcomed. This park will not only help anchor Callowhill and the surrounding area, it will also serve as a stimulus for commercial and residential development in the neighborhood, and I appreciate all the stakeholders who made this project possible.”
The project has an enormous range of friends and supporters for whom the CCD is tremendously grateful: the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney, State Representative Michael H. O’Brien, City Councilman Mark Squilla, the William Penn Foundation, the Knight Foundation in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Poor Richard’s Charitable Trust, The McLean Contributionship, Timberland, and a host of individual donors.