Formerly known as Pier 53, Washington Avenue Green is located at Washington Avenue, just south of the Coast Guard station and behind the Sheet Metal Workers’ Union Hall, 1301 South Columbus Boulevard. The one-acre site on the long-abandoned pier is one of the few tracts along the Delaware riverfront that is owned by the City of Philadelphia. It is the first of the public parks to be created by the Action Plan for the Central Delaware. Because there has been no commercial activity at that location for decades, the pier that originally had welcomed ships and freight carriers has deteriorated, and both native and non-native trees and plants took hold and flourished.
The rotted piers and eroded shoreline have become a nursery for migrating fish and a permanent home for several species of mussels.
New trees and plants supplanting existing growth were planted shortly before the park was officially dedicated on October 27, 2010.
The waterfront has been described as 'the retreating glacier of Philadelphia's industrial past'.
Pier 53 —Plan 2: On September 6, 2012, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) awarded a $1.5 million contract for the design and building of a new Pier 53 park to Applied Ecological Services, Inc. (AES) — a national firm with local offices in Conshohocken.
AES and its subcontractors' work will focus on a plan that extends the park onto the pier itself.
On April 27, Applied Ecological Services presented their plans for the future of Pier 53. Construction will start in the fall of 2013, and is expected to be complete by the following spring. Funding has been secured for most of the project. Funding plans for a boardwalk on the south side of the pier and artwork as part of the pier are still in the works. Presenters (photo above) were Lizzie Woods and Scott Quitel.
Here's a link with more of the details, compliments of nakedphilly.com.
The AES contract is being paid for with a mix of DRWC capital funds and grants from the William Penn Foundation, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Federal Coastal Zone Management Program.
Under the master plan, the area between Pier 53 and Pier 70 to the south would include mixed-use developments. The Pier 53/Washington Avenue Green area is now the northernmost element in a string of wetland parks that provide a direct river view, and which are planned in the future to stretch south to Pier 70 behind the WalMart.
Jody Pinto presented a sketch of the proposed tower to be built at the end of Pier 53. It will be 55 feet high, with an interior spiral stairway, and will be topped with a solar-powered beacon visible from both land and water.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013 with completion in the following spring.
Temple University student Amelia Brust attended our Eco-fest on April 27, 2013. Here’s the link to her site with her comments. http://www.ameliabrustmedia.me.uk
Pier 53 is the Ellis Island of Philadelphia; it was a point of entry in the nineteeth and early twentieth century for over a million immigrants from Europe. For more about this story, click here.