By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The total makeover of Philadelphia’s famed “Love Park” (officially, John F. Kennedy Plaza) is moving ahead, and tonight you’ll have a chance to tell city officials what you think it should look like.
Those officials will be all ears tonight at 6pm at the central branch of the Free Library (details below), as residents get a chance to weigh in on their vision for a new Love Park.
The city has set aside nearly $14 million for the renovation.
First deputy parks commissioner Mark Focht says ideas gathered tonight and in earlier public sessions will then be summarized at a meeting next month.
“In the third week of January, we will have a final meeting that presents all of the input we’ve received, including what we’ll hear (at tonight’s meeting), and introduces the design team, the project team that’s been selected to actually take people’s ideas and concepts from broad ideas into design,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
Focht says all of 2015 will be devoted to the design process, culminating with the selection of a construction firm to do the work in early 2016.
“By the end of the year 2015, we’ll have bid documents,” Focht explains. “We will bid it next winter and start construction in the spring of ’16, as soon as the weather allows us.”
Focht says Love Park will be closed for the remainder of 2016 and possibility into 2017, depending on the length of the construction schedule.
Despite the request for ideas, one decision has already been made: the renovated Love Park will not include any space for skateboarding. Focht says skateboarders already have a new skate park near the art museum, and other venues.
“A decision has been made that the redesigned Love Park will not include skateboarding. We continue to provide them with resources and facilities to recreate. But one of those will not be Love Park,” he says.
Love Park had become an international mecca for skateboarders until they were ordered to vacate during the Street administration, a policy that remains in force.
Tonight’s meeting is being held at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Central Branch, Montgomery Auditorium, 1901 Vine Street.
- Sign in: 5:30pm
- Program: 6:00pm – 8:00pm