By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Hall Courtyard has long been little more than a pedestrian thoroughfare — but city officials hope some new amenities will change that. They expect a new stage and seating to entice passersby to stay a while.

The city has been creeping toward making the courtyard more inviting, adding some cafe chairs a few years ago and then picnic tables, so when Southwest Airlines offered grants to “bring new life to public places,” public property commissioner Bridget Collins Greenwald jumped at it.

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“We held a design competition, we came up with this modular stage, we’re going to have all kinds of activities all throughout the summer, so dance troupes, singers, musical acts,” Greenwald said. “It’s gonna be fun!”

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The pieces can be configured in different ways. Some are topped with fanciful umbrellas, including one tulip-shaped umbrella that collects water and funnels it to nearby plants. At the ribbon-cutting, Friday, Managing Director Mike Diberardinis said how the city treats its public space sends a message.

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“The inclusive nature of public space and how we spread that across the city says Philadelphia is inclusive and cares about equity and is looking to the future,” he said.