By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s been decades since a park opened along Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront, but the opening of “Washington Avenue Green,” at Pier 53 in South Philadelphia, is the first step in what looks to be a long reclamation project.

Environmental artist Stacy Levy says they are harnessing the process of decay and turning that landscape around:

“Everything that is now mulch used to be concrete. The concrete was taken up and broken into pieces.”

They created a rubble meadow, with tile-like pieces surrounded by wooden fences:

“If this was Versailles, it would be flagstone. But here, in this city, it’s concrete. The vegetation will grow up in between that.”

wash ave green nutter tawa New Park Is Part Of Major Facelift For Delaware River Waterfront

Mayor Nutter examines the explanatory display for Washington Avenue Green. (photo by Steve Tawa)

Last May, further south along the mixed-used trail, at Pier 70, they opened up the trailhead behind the Walmart store. The next phase will take the trail north to the Race Street pier:

“We are repurposing open space and areas along the waterfront.”

Mayor Nutter says that by next year a master plan is due out to develop a six-mile stretch between Oregon and Allegheny Avenues.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio.

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