Bartram's Mile, the $7.6 million project that will link a portion of the west bank of the Schuylkill River to the eastern portion of the river trail broke ground this morning. The one-mile stretch will run along Grays Ferry Ave. and 58th St. and will connect to the Grays Ferry Crescent via the planned Schuylkill Crossing swing bridge. At the groundbreaking at 49th St. and Botanic Ave., Mayor Michael Nutter, who hails from West Philly, commented on the importance of the trail connection, which will be completed in the summer of 2016: "Bartram's Mile is critically important to not only this part of Philadelphia," Nutter said. "It will showcase and highlight a part of the city that, quite honestly, many life-long Philadelphians have not had the opportunity to see or experience."
Bartram's Mile will connect the oldest surviving botanic garden, Bartram's Garden, with the Schuylkill River trail. The current site, which is largely vacant industrial land, is being designed by Andropogon Associates and will feature trail and security lighting, biking and pedestrian signage, outlook areas, planters, benches, and public art. Nutter said the link will serve as an "early catalyst of a vibrant green campus innovation district" planned for the West Philly neighborhood.