New public fishing pier planned for S. Phila.
Pier 68 will become a public fishing pier under a plan being developed by The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.
“This is the next new park we plan to do on the waterfront,” Planner and Project Manager Lizzie Woods told the DRWC board at Thursday morning's meeting.
An RFP has been issued seeking designers and builders for the pier, which DRWC acquired about a year and a half ago, along with several other piers in South Philadelphia just south of Tasker Street behind the Walmart and Home Depot.
“We know there is a very strong demand for fishing access on the waterfront,” Woods said. While the future park will be “very heavily focused on fishing,” other “direct recreational activities,” such as launching kayaks, may also become part of the plan, said DRWC Vice President for Operations and Development Joe Forkin.
DRWC will interview the short list of potential firms next month, with the goal of the board awarding a contract in December.
DRWC Vice President for Marketing, Programming and Corporate Partnerships Jodie Milkman said the goal is to have the park done by the second week of next August, when a Bassmaster Fishing Tournament will be held in Philadelphia, on the Delaware River. DRWC is in discussions with the tournament to hold it at Penn's Landing, she said. The fishing pier could also get national television exposure.
Pier 68 was chosen as the next pier park for several reasons.
Of the piers DRWC acquired on the southern end of the Central Delaware, “This was one that was in the best condition, that needed the least amount of structural work to be able to use it,” Woods said.
It is also marks the southern boundary of the area where the Central Delaware Master Plan calls for a wetlands park. Design work is already underway for the pier that is the northern boundary, Pier 53. The two pier parks will be connected by the Central Delaware Multipurpose Trail, which has already been built along the water in this area.
DRWC has about $750,000 to do the Pier 68 project now, and Woods said it can be done very well within that budget, but more funds are being sought that would allow for more options. One possibility: Sponsorships by fishing gear companies.
Board Member Marilyn Jordan Taylor, who is dean of the Penn School of Design, said having more money available is a good idea, because sometimes things are discovered once work begins that can require additional funds.
The project area excludes the eastern tip of the pier, which has deteriorated.
Board Vice Chair Jay Goldstein asked if the unusable part would be removed, or fenced off. Forkin said that would be determined in the design phase.
Goldstein and Taylor suggested it be eliminated. Having an area beyond the fence would prove irresistible, and that would present a liability, they said.
Besides, Taylor added, “I hope we have something that looks more finished than that.”
More details on this project are expected to be released at a DRWC news conference Thursday afternoon.
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