The long-awaited designs for Pier 68 were finally revealed today at a press conference long the Delaware River. After extensive community outreach, Studio Bryan Hanes and the crew over at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) developed a plan for the $1.7m park that will hopefully create a successful southern bookend to the in-progess Delaware River Trail. Mayor Michael Nutter mentioned that he was excited to "take down one more 'no trespassing' sign" along the river and looks forward to its ribbon-cutting sometime next summer. What what can we expect from the latest public park from the DRWC — their third since 2009? Let's take a deeper look! For starters, this will be a park where visitors can go to relax and enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline and the beautiful Delaware River (how they'll get there is another story.) While that's nothing really new, Race Street Pier offers similar features, two areas stand out for Pier 68: public fishing and ecology. At the tip of the pier will be the zone designated for fishing. People have illegally fished (and docked tug boats) off of Pier 68 for years now, so finally, anglers young, old and in-between have a safe, legal spot to cast their lines.
Much like with nearby Pier 53, which is a half-mile up the trail, ecology and river activity will play a role in the essence of the new park. A mid-span cut out will allow visitors to see the river's water rise and recede with the changing tides. A rope and cable bridge structure will spark your curiosity of the native vegetation and wildlife found within the Delaware River. Angled benches and a picnic grove will allow for more rest and relaxation along the water, similar to Race Street Pier, and native trees at the entrance will "conceal the parking lot and traffic to the west," according to the press release. After all, it's basically in the parking lot of what locals have dubbed the "Waterfront Walmart." It should be noted that Walmart did contribute $200,000 to help fund the pier's rebirth — good on them for that.
In all, it looks like Studio Bryan Hanes successfully melded ideas from the meetings to develop a park that offers recreation, relaxtion and a retreat from the hustle and bustle in urban life. Their track record is pretty unbeatable, just take a look at their work at Sister Cities Park as an example. Lizzie Woods, Project Manager with the DRWC, mentioned that construction could start as early as this fall, if all goes according to plan with permitting, with the hopes of opening sometime in the summer of 2015.
Here's the rundown of all of the amenities at Pier 68:
· Entrance deck with wood paving, seating and site furnishings that register water elevation.
· A collection of native trees that begin to conceal the parking lot and traffic to the west. Trees will serve as a thresh hold, marking that visitors have crossed into a new riverside environment
· A Picnic Grove where a gravel walking surface and a combination of furnishings and trees will create a space to rest and enjoy the shade
· 4.5' deep aquatic cut into the pier surface, showing the tidal happenings and filled with native, aquatic plants.
· Rope and cable bridge structure over the aquatic cut.
· Angled lawn for lounging and sun-bathing
· Long linear bench for seating
· Water-side walk and open pier terminus.