Amid the threat of a snowpacalypse (or whatever they’re calling a blizzard these days), neighbors of the planned Pier 68 fishing and recreational park provided input Wednesday night on what they would like to see on this barren space:
Attendees liked the idea of proposed wildlife “blinds,” elevated towers for viewing, and places for general leisure like benches, gardens, and areas for exercise or yoga. They also suggested better security and occasional events, such as a seasonal beer garden.
Representatives from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Studio Bryan Hanes, and TEND Landscape engaged the neighborhood in a different type of community meeting to get a better idea about how the public (and neighborhood) would utilize the space. Even those skeptical of the development, proposed for the Delaware River behind Walmart, seemed to appreciate a different approach.
With six stations set up around the meeting space, the community was able to gain some background on the process from a development and design standpoint while speaking with key players involved in the project. The main theme of the meeting was that community input is essential to future plans for Pier 68.
“We call it design with a little ‘d’ – there are no egos here,” said Bryan Hanes, founder of Studio Bryan Hanes, the lead design team for the Pier 68 project. Joe Forkin and Lizzie Woods of the DRWC were also available to answer questions.
The idea behind this six-station format was to have the community engaged and involved from the beginning to help define the best usage for the space. Those in attendance flowed from a display of the DRWC’s Central Delaware River Master Plan down to an exhibit of Pier 68’s history as a sugar refinery. From there, stations from TEND Landscape became more interactive, seeking to find future transportation options while having people “whiteboard” their ideas on what they want Pier 68 to be.
The last two stations from Studio Bryan Hanes focused on physical design elements at Pier 68 and the nearby area, calling people to place stickers where they would like to see their top five recreational elements on the pier itself. The stations wrapped up with a brief survey that focused mainly on personal technology habits and usage; giving more credence to the notion that Pier 68 will look to utilize site-specific app technology to enhance the experience.
Community input was also called upon for the naming of the site as the survey asked if you called it by something other than Pier 68. The site is expected to include fish-cleaning stations, rebuilt wetlands and places to temporarily dock small boats, such as kayaks. Planners hope to have the project completed in time for a bass-fishing tournament being held in Philly in August.
Overall feelings towards the project were positive, with those in attendance happy to learn more about the trail and share their ideas for its future. However, access to the area seems to be a real issue with entire trail, especially for the people that live south of Tasker Street and in Whitman.
Dr. James Moylan, president of the Pennsport Civic Association, noted this was the first of three meetings regarding the future of Pier 68, or “The Pier at Pennsport” as he would like to see it called. “Any projects in Pennsport, we need to be thoroughly involved,” he said. The next meeting should be in four to six weeks.
To take a survey on what you’d like to see in the park, visit Pier68Design.com.
James Jennings is the founder of the blog Pennsporter — a site dedicated to exploring the neighborhood from Washington to Snyder, the Delaware to Fourth.