| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Development News

New Hawthorne Park builds on Philly’s open space legacy

Mayor Nutter cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially signify the opening of Hawthorne Park at 12th and Catharine Streets last Thursday (June 5). The park is the final phase to a neighborhood transformation plan that saw the demolition of the Martin Luther King Plaza housing projects in the early 1990s and the construction of a more physically connected, contextually sensitive mixed-income housing development.  The park was a critical part of the initial plan and is expected to become a vibrant social hub for the neighborhood, integrating the new housing development with the surrounding built environment.

The $2.1 million park adds almost an acre of greenspace to South Philadelphia's Hawthorne section and features high quality plantings, public art, and quality materials that ultimately makes it a welcomed addition to the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation system.  

The Park’s opening is newsworthy for a number of reasons.  First, it represents a key milestone in the Mayor’s Greenworks and Green2015 initiatives, demonstrating the city’s commitment to improving the health of residents and the vibrancy of neighborhoods.  But also, it puts money and policy prioritization towards principles in which the City was founded on.  In Philadelphia, parks and open space has always been seen as critical parts to urban neighborhoods, an ideal best showcased in the city’s storied public spaces like Rittenhouse and Washington Square.  But as the city grew and spread outward the planning and implementation of open spaces did not always follow suit, leaving large swaths of Philadelphia without equitable access to open space.  

The opening of Hawthorne Park signifies the city’s willingness to take this issue on.  Eventually, the City plans to implement vital public spaces in all Philly neighborhoods so that every resident in every neighborhood has walkable access to park space.  For a city with such a significant and storied public space legacy, nothing less should be expected.    

Writer: Greg Meckstroth
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts