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Paris-Inspired ‘Hope Fence’ Goes Up Along Philadelphia Waterfront

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 250-foot fence has gone up on the Philadelphia waterfront, called the ‘Hope Fence.’ It’s a public space to commemorate any life moment by attaching padlocks inscribed with messages dubbed ‘Love Locks.’

When Philadelphia building industry icon Daniel Keating and his wife Sarah were visiting Paris they had a moment crossing the Pont des Arts, a bridge in central Paris, festooned with millions of locks.

“Every lock had a story that was enjoyed from people all over the world, from all walks of life,” said Daniel.

“We put our lock on,” said Sarah, “and we came back and I said, ‘why doesn’t Philadelphia have a lock fence?'”

img 8652 Paris Inspired Hope Fence Goes Up Along Philadelphia Waterfront

Dan and Sarah Keating attach the first batch of Love Locks to the Hope Fence. (credit: Steve Tawa)

On a concrete wall behind the Hilton Hotel along the Penn’s Landing Waterfront Promenade, the Keatings presented the fence to mark Dan’s journey as a non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor.

“I had cancer,” he said. “But I don’t have cancer today.”

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Sarah wrote a personal note on a commemorative Love Lock in appreciation of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The Keatings will receive the Humanitarian Award at the Party with a Purpose gala later this month, which will raise funds for ovarian cancer research at the AACR.

On the railings of that pedestrian bridge in Paris, people attach padlocks, often inscribed to profess their enduring love, and then typically throw the keys into the Seine River below. Keating says they don’t want to be environmentally insensitive.

“We don’t want to throw the keys into the river,” he said.  We want to collect the keys.”

There are nearby receptacles to discard the keys.

“We want to melt the keys,” he said, “and then have some sort of art or sculpture created.”

The goal is to see 5 million locks attached to that Hope Fence.

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