Turning Pier 53 into a Park
What was once Philadelphia’s Ellis Island will become the gateway of a Delaware River wetlands park. Before the pier was Philadelphia’s Ellis Island, it was the city’s first Navy Yard. About 50 people attended the first public input session on the future of Pier 53 at Southwark House. They learned – and helped fill in – information about the pier’s history and present condition, and provided guidance to Applied Ecological Services, which will design and build the new park. Washington Avenue Green, which was one of the first projects the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation tackled under the city’s Central Delaware Master Plan, is on the uplands portion of Pier 53. The discussion Thursday considered what should be done with the pier itself.
Participants said they want to be able to touch the water. They want an arbor or other structure that helps bring attention to the park. They want a walking trail that leads to prime viewing spots, and nature tours, and a place to fish. Suggestions included activities for kids, benches and picnic tables. Construction is expected to be completed in 2014.