A long-beloved, but run down, piece of Port Richmond history will soon see new life as a public park.
Graffiti Pier—known more formally as Pier 18—on the Delaware waterfront, which has long been owned by Conrail, is being sold to the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC), according to the DRWC. In a statement this week Conrail said it’s working with the DRWC to help transform six acres of land in the area—including the pier—into a public park. There were no specifics on when the sale will be finalized or how much it cost Thursday.
The William Penn Foundation has provided a grant to the DRWC to pay for a study that will confirm the structure stability of the pier. The study will also help the DRWC develop a conceptual design for the park as well a public input strategy.
The DRWC plans to start a public outreach process later this summer, during which they’ll seek input from residents, neighbors, and artists about the plan for the park. The process will focus on in-person meetings and online engagement, according to the DRWC.
The pier opened in the late 19th century as a coal loading dock until Conrail closed the pier in 1991. In the years that followed its closure the pier has become a hotspot for local artists, who decorated the concrete structures with an array of brightly colored graffiti, giving Pier 18 its iconic name. However, after a wave of criminal activity reported at the pier, Philly police decided to officially close the space to the public last year.
“For years we have explored a variety of opportunities to reactivate Pier 18 as a public space to preserve and expand the inherent cultural value of Graffiti Pier,” said Conrail’s Jonathan Broder in the statement.