Aug 19, 2022 - News

Wetland project breaks ground at FDR Park

A rendering of the wetland project at FDR Park in South Philly.
A rendering of the wetland project in FDR Park in South Philly. Photo courtesy of the Parks and Recreation Department

Another project tied to the major transformation of FDR Park in South Philly is now underway.

Driving the news: A $30 million project broke ground on Thursday to create a native coastal forested wetland on a 33-acre portion of the park.

  • The project will reclaim an area of the park currently inaccessible, allowing for new public access.

Why it matters: The 12-18-month project will reduce flooding and reintroduce wetlands that are native to the site, as well as make the park more resilient to climate change.

The big picture: The groundbreaking on Thursday kicked off the first of a dozen projects dubbed the "nature phase" of the FDR Park Plan, which is a $250 million push to reimagine the 348-acre park.

Details: The wetland project includes:

  • New trails and boardwalks
  • 7,000 new trees and 1,700 new bushes and shrubs
  • Rebuilding the riverbank areas next to Shedbrook Creek
  • Dredging of soil to create the habitat
  • The installation of two new tide gates to prevent tidal flow

Between the lines: The Philadelphia International Airport is helping fund the wetlands project as a way to make up for the wetlands affected by its own development efforts.

What they're saying: The project will make the park a paradise for birds and local birdwatchers, said Maura McCarthy, executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, in a news release.

  • "Returning part of FDR Park to wetland is an important step toward creating and maintaining a world class public park that is built on the Delaware River watershed," she said.

What's next: The other projects tied to the $45-million nature phase are expected to continue through 2026.

  • Those projects include a nature playground, 5-mile trail, a kayak and canoe launch, plant nursery and forest restoration.
A rendering of the wetland project in FDR Park in South Philly.
A rendering of the wetland project in FDR Park in South Philly. Photo courtesy of the Parks and Recreation Department
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