By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new hidden treasure opened today along Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront.

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Tucked between the US Coast Guard Station and the Sheet Metal Workers’ union headquarters, at Washington Avenue and Columbus Boulevard, is the Washington Avenue Pier, a nature repository so close to the Delaware River you can literally touch it.

“The birding here is going to be great– we’ve seen great blue herons (and) water fowl like geese and ducks,” says
Lizzie Woods, planner and project manager for the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.  She helped design the pier and says the new park puts public art, history, and nature at visitors’ fingertips.

“You have a boardwalk where people can actually walk over the water and get great vistas, you have a beautiful public art sculpture that people can climb up and references the pier’s history as an immigration station,” she notes.

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(Washington Avenue Pier includes a walk-up observation platform.  Photo by Cherri Gregg)

(Washington Avenue Pier includes a walk-up sculpture by artist Jody Pinto.  Photo by Cherri Gregg)

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The Washington Avenue Pier is the second permanent park to open in the past three years.  The Race Street Pier opened last summer, and the Spruce Street Harbor “pop-up” park opened this summer.

The appearance of the new attractions has helped spur redevelopment along the waterfront.  Fringe Arts took over the old Water Department building at the foot of  Race Street, and a new, 180-unit housing project is scheduled nearby.

“Having these wonderful pier parks and the trails that go with them along the river’s edge means development will happen sooner and be better,” says Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development and director of commerce.

The next park scheduled to open along the waterfront is Pier 68, behind the South Philadelphia Walmart. It is scheduled to open next summer.


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