It may be snowing in Philadelphia today, but this week the city got a huge dose of sunshine from the William Penn Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The two came together in Fairmount Park’s beautiful Horticultural Center to announce an $11 million grant to the Fairmount Park Conservancy that’s all about “Reimagining the Civic Commons.” The grant will leverage public and other private dollars to develop five public space projects in the city, including the Bartram’s Mile trail project. Part of the Circuit, Bartram’s Mile is a trail and greenway project, by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Schuylkill River Development Corporation, along the lower Schuylkill River that will transform industrial brownfields into an urban park.
The Circuit plays a critical role in this new Civic Commons work, as the region’s trail network will be a primary conduit for connecting these five public spaces and opening access to them for residents from all parts of the city. Here’s what William Penn’s Shawn McCaney (Creative Communities Program Director) had to say: “Philadelphia’s momentum is palpable. Because of its beautiful public spaces and civic assets, the city is increasingly recognized as a world-class destination for visitors and tourists. The Civic Commons initiative is designed to bring high-quality amenities, like the ones placing Philadelphia on a world stage, to all of our residents, especially those in our most underserved communities. And by connecting many of these destinations through the Circuit, we promote social and community inclusion within and between neighborhoods across the city, unite neighborhoods that presently may stand alone, and work to ensure that Philadelphia is, indeed, a place for all Philadelphians.”
An exciting new development in Philadelphia's ongoing reclamation of old industrial land will be on display this weekend. The parcels of land on the north and south sides of Bartram's Garden, dubbed "Bartram's Mile," will be converted into trail connecting the Garden to the Schuylkill River Trail and The Circuit. These parcels will be open to the public for the first time this weekend.
Join us this Saturday for a guided bike tour of these future trails and the adjacent 58th St Greenway. On Sunday, you can take the same guided tour by foot.
Saturday, November 3rd - Guided bike tour
Start: 1:30 pm
Starting location: Bartram's Community Farm
Locations visited: Gypsum site, 58th St Greenway, Schuylkill River Trail at Bartram's, and National Heat & Power site.
Sunday, November 4th - Guided walking tour
Start: 2:00 pm
Starting location: Bartram's Garden trail head
Locations visited: same as above
Take the tour to learn how the Parks and Rec. Dept will develop the off-road route from the Gray's Ferry Bridge to Bartram's Garden, and from Bartram's Garden south along the Schuylkill.
The northern parcel is formerly known as the "National Heat and Power" site and the southern plot is the "Gypsum/Transmontaigne" site. Both are owned by the Philadelphia Development Industrial Corporation, which is deeding river frontage over to the Parks and Rec Dept to create new trails.
Note: the original version of this post was published on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia's blog.