By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two months after “Occupy Philadelphia” protesters were evicted from Dilworth Plaza, on the west side of City Hall, city officials gathered for the long-awaited groundbreaking of the plaza’s renovation.

The ceremonial groundbreaking was held indoors, in an office building that overlooks Dilworth Plaza, with US transportation secretary Ray LaHood delivering a key component: a $15-million stimulus grant.  That’s almost one third of the total $50-million price tag.

“We need to shine a big light on what we’re doing here, all across America,” LaHood said.  “If we do, we’ll put Americans to work.”

Mayor Nutter was pleased to accept the money and even slipped in a reference about the protesters who once occupied the plaza.

“What is most exciting for me is that more than 900 workers are going to occupy Dilworth Plaza very, very soon,” the mayor quipped.

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nutter signs dunn High Above Dilworth Plaza, Ceremonial Groundbreaking Held For Plazas Makeover

(Surrounded by US Reps. Chaka Fattah, left, and Allyson Schwartz, second from right, and US transportation secretary Ray LaHood, far right, Mayor Nutter signs a commemorative tile that will be placed on Dilworth Plaza after the renovation is completed. Credit: Mike Dunn))


The new plaza will include a lawn with trees and benches, a skating rink and café with views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (see related story).  Underground, the SEPTA concourse will be remade to be less like a maze.

The project is scheduled to be completed in two years.

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