NewsWorks reports that Mayor Michael Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke have reached agreement over the future of Love Park—a joint vision that involves creating new green space while offering urban amenities like restaurants. “I want to say how excited I am about the prospects of having a well-balanced approach to redoing this park and bring some level of vibrancy to this park,” Clarke said. “No longer will people be talking about Bryant Park in New York and in London, they are going to be talking about Love Park in the city of Philadelphia.”
The mayor had proposed selling the garage beneath Love Park, at 15th and JFK Boulevard, and then using $16 million of city money to renovate the park itself.
Council president Clarke proposed turning much of the park over to new restaurants, with money from those leases paying for the renovation instead of taxpayer dollars.
Now, the two have compromised: Clarke agreed to let the sale of the garage move forward in City Council, while the mayor agrees to dedicate some portion of the park for “concessions” to support the park.
Nutter said officials envision making a number of changes to the park, officially known as John F. Kennedy Plaza, including adding green space, installing a new water feature and creating concessions for visitors to enjoy.
Officials would also like to open up access to the park from all four streets its bounded by -- 15th Street, 16th Street, JFK Boulevard and Arch Street -- and keep the LOVE statue as the heart of the plaza.
The city will apply for $3 million in redevelopment money from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and also hopes to generate cash for the project from the sale of the parking garage underneath the park.