Stand on the service road east of South Philadelphia’s Walmart, and you stand at the intersection of the Delaware River waterfront’s past and future.
Time was if you tried to find the river beyond the Pier 70 shopping center, you’d discover a waterfront blocked by chain link fence but no stranger to fishermen, drowned shopping carts, and feral cats. Today this part of the waterfront beckons another look.
Visit this spot now and you’re greeted by three tall, tilty poles, painted in nautical blue and white stripes. They mark the gateway to a different world at the end of the shopping center. We’re not in the Walmart parking lot anymore.
This is Pier 68, the newest pier park introduced to the Central Delaware Waterfront, set to open to the public this Thursday after nearly two years of focused planning, design, and construction.
Studio Bryan Hanes, the firm perhaps best known locally as designers of Sister Cities Park, recast Pier 68 as a new pier park, informed by community input and the goals of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware.
The vision was to create a southern trailhead for the Delaware River Trail, provide a waterfront amenity for passive recreation and fishing, and create new opportunities to experience the river and its rich ecology.
PIER 68 PROJECT FUNDERS:
- $500,000: PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
- $450,000: William Penn Foundation
- $250,000: PA Department of Community and Economic Development
- $250,000: City of Philadelphia
- $200,000: Walmart
- $75,000: Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant (through National Fish and Wildlife Service)