By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is often the centerpiece of big events, and then left to be something just driven on the rest of the time.
But an upcoming project attempts to find a middle ground.
That “middle ground” is right in the middle of the art museum circle — Eakins Oval — a park and parking lot with all the attraction of the hole in a donut.
But beginning July 17th and running through August 18th, it will be turned into a seashore-themed “Park on the Parkway,” featuring areas to relax, learn, and grab a bite.
Philadelphia deputy mayor Michael DiBerardinis says “The Oval,” which is the new nom-du-marketing for the tract, will temporarily lose its parking lot in exchange for three activity areas.
“One will be painted as a beach towel. The other will be painted as a boardwalk, and another will be painted with sort of textured paint as more like the beach and where the sandboxes will be. In that space will also be big life-sized games that people can participate in.”
Plus Adirondack chairs, misters to help you cool off, and food and drink merchants.
DiBernardinis says the oval will still anchor big events from time to time.
“We want to take it beyond that to where it has greater utility, primarily for the neighborhoods residents who live around there. We don’t totally eliminate the park. We don’t interfere with any of the big events, but we provide for, like, six months a year of regularly scheduled activity.”
These park events are free unless you visit a food or beverage vendor.