Consider it a mile-long step in Philadelphia’s ongoing architectural renaissance. Local landscape firm Andropogon recently received approval for the plans to re-work a vacant stretch of land beside the western banks of the tidal Schuylkill River. The goal is to convert the plot located between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street into public green space that provides riverfront access and recreational opportunities for local residents.
The site is adjacent to Bartram’s Garden, the country’s oldest botanical garden founded at the house of 18th century botanist and Philadelphian John Bartram, who is also the source of the Bartram’s Mile moniker for the future park. The potential for the area was first highlighted in Green 2015, a 2010 study the city commissioned from PennPraxis gauging the feasibility of adding 500 acres of parkland to Philadelphia over a five-year period. The hope is to complete Bartram’s Mile before the 2015 deadline established in that plan. Though some questions linger regarding the specifics of the vision, the Philadelphia Arts Commission gave the project the final go ahead following a presentation by Andropogon’s Patty West.