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Wolf Administration Announces $500K Grant for FDR Park Improvements

03/15/2022

​Harrisburg, PA -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Deputy Secretary Lauren Imgrund today announced the department has awarded a $500,000 grant for environmental and infrastructure improvements to FDR Park in Philadelphia.

“I am happy to announce this significant investment in FDR Park and look forward to seeing the impact this grant will have at one of the city’s premier parks,” Imgrund said. “As the state’s leader in outdoor recreation, we are committed to expanding recreation opportunities for all Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth, which includes projects of this nature that focus on enriching diverse communities.”

Funding will go toward an accessible public plaza, trees, additional lighting and family-friendly furnishings. An acre of native riparian plants will also be installed to help enhance wildlife habitat and protect the water quality of Pattison Lagoon. The improvements are an implementation of the FDR Park Plan, which was developed with extensive community input.

"FDR Park is one of the most diverse and dynamic green spaces in our city," said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. "The FDR Park Plan is a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to harness the passion residents have for this park and build a sustainable and vibrant future for one of Pennsylvania's most popular urban spaces. Thanks to the Commonwealth's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for partnering with us to transform the People's Plaza and Pattison Lagoon into a welcoming outdoor gathering place that encourages visitors to extend their stay and come back more often to enjoy all that FDR has to offer.”

FDR Park is a 348-acre park in South Philadelphia visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year. It was designed by the Olmsted brothers and opened in 1921 as League Island Park. It is a designated Historic District by the Philadelphia Historical Commission and is home to a series of lakes and lagoons, the American Swedish Historical Museum, and a range of recreation facilities including tennis courts, ball fields, and a skate park.

“The FDR Park Plan will have a profound impact on a wide range of users, aligning community priorities with the realities of a changing climate and finding the balance of activity, nature, and water,” said Maura McCarthy, Ph.D., Executive Director, Fairmount Park Conservancy. “Fairmount Park Conservancy is grateful to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our elected officials for recognizing the significance their investment can have in our city.”

The park is a five-minute walk from the Navy Yard, as well as a short walk to three other parks and recreation centers: Marconi Plaza, Girard Park, and Barry Playground. It is accessible by public transportation and lies adjacent to Philadelphia’s three major sports stadiums: Citizens Bank Park, Lincoln Financial Field, and the Wells Fargo Center. There are 19 schools and 55 certified childcare facilities within 1.5 miles of the park.

"In Philadelphia, limited access to open green spaces means that we treasure our parks,” state Senator Nikil Saval said. “This is certainly true of FDR, which remains a respite for the surrounding communities. FDR is an intergenerational, multicultural, multiethnic, multiracial, and multilingual space. I’m grateful to DCNR for this investment, which marks a recognition of how vital this park is to us right now, a commitment to expanding its accessibility for all who visit, and a desire to preserve it for generations to come."

"We've been on a mission to turn FDR Park into the Central Park of Philadelphia," said state Rep. Regina Young, (D-185). "This means having family-friendly, open green spaces and making sure the park is accessible to everyone. Not only do local residents and neighbors benefit from more parks and recreational spaces, but this project also helps protect water quality by planting natural, native riparian buffers. It's a boon for us, the local wildlife, and the environment."

"Thank you to DCNR for this investment in FDR Park,” said Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, who represents FDR Park, located in the city’s Second Council District. “As a former Pennsylvania state representative, I understand how important it is to have investment from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, City of Philadelphia, the federal government, the private sector, and the community in order to make large-scale projects like the FDR Park Plan a success. This latest financial contribution shows that we are all working together to make FDR Park one of the premier green spaces in the entire United States.”

DCNR provides grants to myriad projects across the commonwealth annually, including a $70 million investment during the 2021-22 fiscal year. Its Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants can fund:

  • Planning, acquisition, and development of public parks and recreation areas
  • Motorized and non-motorized trails
  • River conservation and access
  • Heritage areas and facilities
  • Conservation of critical habitat, natural areas and open space

Eligible applicants for these grants include counties, municipalities, municipal agencies, nonprofit organizations, state heritage areas, prequalified land trusts, and for-profit enterprises. Grant funding for the program comes from a variety of state funding sources including Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, ATV and Snowmobile Management Restricted Accounts, Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program, and federal sources including the Recreational Trails Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund. DCNR selects the most appropriate funding source based on the applicant and proposed project.

Learn more about DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnership Program grants on the DCNR website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Wesley Robinson, 717-877-6315

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