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Race Street Pier's big splash: Philly's newest waterfront park officially open for business

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) has been working to design and develop their namesake river's waterfront for well over two years now, although the recent afternoon of May 12 was one of the agency's most important days yet. At 2 pm that day, a press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Mayor Nutter kicked off, and the long-awaited Race Street Pier was finally -- and officially -- opened to the public.

Located along the length of Pier 11, which sits just south of the Ben Franklin Bridge, the one-acre waterfront park was designed by James Corner Field Operations, a world class landscape architecture and urban design firm that was also responsible for the stunning High Line park in New York City.

As the DRWC's Master Planning Manager, Sarah Thorp, is quick to point out, "[The Race Street Pier was] designed to be a very spectacular place, both during the day and at night." The park, in fact, has its own extensive lighting system embedded in the pavement. The transformation in the park from daytime to nighttime, Thorp says, is simply spectacular.

Of course, The Race Street Pier is only one small example of what DRWC has in store for the city. The organization's currently-in-progress master plan, which will reveal all the upcoming waterfront development being planned between Oregon Avenue in South Philly and Allegheny Avenue in the north, will be unveiled on June 13. (Watch this space for more information.)

In the meantime, though, Thorp is encouraging everyone to take full advantage of the city's newest waterfront treasure. "The (designers) have done an amazing job creating a really different kind of place for Philadelphians," she says. "This is a really different park -- it's unlike any other in the city."

For more information about the park and its upcoming events, click here.

Source: Sarah Thorp, DRWC
Writer: Dan Eldridge

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