LOVE Park: Ceremonial Groundbreaking Set for Wednesday

The $16.5 million redesign of LOVE Park, which also includes a new-look "Saucer," aims to make the iconic plaza an accessible and engaging public space.

LOVE Park | Hargreaves and Associates

LOVE Park | Hargreaves and Associates

The $16.5 million revamp of JFK Plaza/LOVE Park will officially commence this Wednesday, as city officials and project partners will gather for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the iconic public square at 11 a.m.

It’s unclear when LOVE Park will officially close to the public. Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring and last 12 to 16 months.

Hargreaves Associates and Parks and Recreation presented the final plans in November. The goal is to provide ease of access to visitors of the park, and soften the overall experience through the introduction of green lawns, rain gardens, colorful trees and flowers, and even new water fountains that weave a basket of jets beneath the park’s main geyser, the latter will have a smaller basin. Public drinking fountains are also part of the plans.

Philly’s KieranTimerberlake is leading the renovation of the Fairmount Park Welcome Center (The Saucer). When complete, the space age building will become a dining hub with an outdoor porch overlooking the park. A flashy art installation dubbed Chromoscope will don its ceiling and help make the building a glowing beacon at night.

Construction fences were installed to much of the site late last week, leaving tourists wondering when the statue will leave the site (don’t worry, it will return) and skaters lamenting the loss of a legendary skate spot.”Love Park served as an incubator for generations of Philadelphia skaters,” states skate site Ride.

LOVE Park certainly made a lasting impression in 2000’s Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, where players could combine a series of tricks on its numerous hardscape surfaces to drain the famous fountain. Edmund Bacon, who conceived of the design for JFK Plaza in 1932 while at Cornell University, hopped on a board in October 2002 in protest of the city’s proposed skateboarding ban in LOVE Park. At the time, he proclaimed, “Thank you! My whole damn life has been worth it, just for this moment!”