By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The next stretch of the Schuylkill River Trail is about to take place downriver from the new boardwalk pathway that connects to the South Street Bridge. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the $7.6 million “Bartram’s Mile.”READ MORE: GUIDE: Where To Watch Fourth Of July Fireworks In Philadelphia Region
The future trail segment has been a mile of vacant river frontage, between Grays Ferry to 56th Street. Bartram’s Mile is the first section of the trail on the western banks of the Schuylkill River.
Executive Director Maitreyi Roy of the historic Bartram’s Garden, the nation’s oldest botanical garden, say it opens up riverfront access and recreation opportunities to an underserved neighborhood.
“The southwest community has not had this connection to the river,” said Roy.
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The new trail segment is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016.
Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis says the next major piece includes replacing a nearby old railroad bridge with a $13 million swing bridge, so folks can cross the river.
“It would be a vital connection to the rest of the Schuylkill River Trail,” said DiBerardinis.
And plans are in the works for another, larger $20 million boardwalk, south of the existing one.
“Once that happens, Center City opens up to southwest, and southwest opens up to Center City and all the neighborhoods in between.”MORE NEWS: Watch Funeral For Fallen Philadelphia Firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson