PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Phase One of The Rail Park is sprouting in Philadelphia, as dozens of volunteers moved mulch, planted shrubs, and hugged newly installed trees.
The $10 million portion is the first quarter-mile stretch of the Rail Park. It rises from street level at Broad and Noble Streets, just above Callowhill, to near 11th and Callowhill Streets.
Most of the volunteers were associates from Timberland, the retailer.
Coleen Vien, the company’s sustainability director, says they are energized to see the old abandoned railway transformed.
“It’s projects like this that we love to put on our boots, get dirty, and make a difference,” she said.
Among the volunteers, Nick Prendergrast, who graduated from Roman Catholic High School down the street, and now works at the Journey’s Store.
“We’re making a natural park in an urban landscape it’s awesome,” he said.
Executive Director Nancy Goldenberg of the Center City District Foundation says this portion is due to open in the spring of 2018
“We’re going like gangbusters on the rail park, now,” she said.
The overall vision is for a greenway that will revitalize three miles of unused rail lines into a beautiful public space, including an underground tunnel (from about 30th & Girard to 22nd & Spring Garden), a cut section (21st & Callowhill to Broad) and an elevated viaduct (12th & Vine to 9th & Fairmount).
Many compare it to a rail park in New York, but Philly’s version would be twice the length and width of New York City’s High Line.