Morning Headlines: 5 Philly Parks, Including The Rail Park, Get Boost in Funding

The William Penn Foundation will partner with The Knight Foundation to donate $11 million to five city parks, according to a report from Inga Saffron in The Inquirer. The announcement will be made formal today and give a shot in the arm to some special projects, including the funding of the landscaping at The Rail Park at North Broad at Noble Streets. According to Saffron:

All five projects are shovel-ready, have raised most of the necessary construction funds, and can be completed relatively quickly, in less than two years.

The money will go to the Fairmount Park Conservancy as part of the Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative in an effort to realize five projects:

  • $1 million for landscaping at The Rail Park
  • $6 million towards the creation of creative playground called Centennial Commons in Parkside near the Please Touch Museum. According to Saffron, the “development includes a climbing wall, a mini-mountain range, and a spray park that turns into a winding ice-skating track in winter.”
  • $250,000 to help kickstart Bartram’s Mile along the Schuylkill in Kingsessing
  • $1.75 million towards the Lovett Memorial Library project in Mount Airy
  • $1 million for an Audubon/Outward Bound program in the Discovery Center in East Fairmount Park

Foundations partnering to enable railroad viaduct park [The Inquirer]

Other can’t-miss news stories…

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Rail Park Plans Continue to Make Headway with Phase 1

As one reader reminded us on our roundup of developments we’ll be tracking in 2015, the proposed Rail Park is one of the city’s most anticipated projects of the new year. Well, guess what? Friends of the Rail Park sent out a status update on the project’s first phase a few days ago! Here’s what it said:

BREAKING GROUND ON PHASE 1  Designs for the first phase of the Rail Park are complete. Construction documents are ready to bid out. A lease for Phase 1 between the Center City District (CCD) and SEPTA is being finalized. The CCD has grant commitments in hand for nearly 50% of the expected $8.5 million in construction costs and is awaiting word on one additional grant. In concert with CCD’s efforts, FRP continues to build support and develop resources to steward Phase 1 while bringing attention to the entire 3-mile site.

Woohoo! Plus…

Morning Headlines: City Promises Funds for Reading Viaduct and Rail Park Project

A 2012 preliminary design rendering of the Septa-owned portion of the Reading Viaduct are prepared by Studio Bryan Hanes and Urban Engineers. Photo credit:  Reading Viaduct Project.

2012 preliminary design rendering by Studio Bryan Hanes and Urban Engineers.
Photo credit: Reading Viaduct Project.

Long-time supporters of the Reading Viaduct and Rail Park project must be reeling at the latest backing the plan has received. From Philly.com:

Without fanfare, the city and the state have included millions of dollars in their latest budgets toward the first phase of the project: transforming the quarter-mile railroad “spur” that curves through the city’s burgeoning Loft District and dead-ends onto North Broad Street.

The news comes months after the Reading Viaduct Project and Friends of the Rail Park, two local organizations who’ve been pushing for development of the abandoned rail line, joined forces last October.

Elevated park on rail viaduct finally firming up [Philly.com]

Meanwhile, in other news…
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Property’s Philebrity Awards Picks

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Each year the website Philebrity solicits votes for its annual awards, which include categories ranging from General Fabulousness to Non-Profit of the Year. This year there are several contenders who speak to Property’s mission. They are people and organizations who make significant, consistent contributions to the discourse around Philadelphia’s built environment, who promote design and architecture, who advocate to make the city a better place to live, who educate its residents. We can’t speak to Phoodie of the Year, but we chose our winners in categories we feel are relevant.

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