October 04, 2023
City officials gathered in Bridesburg on Tuesday to break ground on a 10-acre park planned along the Delaware River waterfront. It will serve as the last of eight parks that make up the Riverfront North Greenway, an 11-mile network of trails and community spaces running from Port Richmond to Torresdale.
The park planned in Bridesburg is at the site of a former concrete factory where Delaware Avenue meets Orthodox Street. The trailhead park will connect directly with the existing Port Richmond Trail and PennDOT's planned Delaware Avenue extension.
Called Robert A. Borski, Jr. Park, after the former U.S. congressman from Philly, the project was conceived in 2015 to transform the vacant, city-owned land. The park's planning and development received support from public and private sources, including the William Penn Foundation. Its construction was pushed back during the COVID-19 pandemic, but will now move forward in two phases.
The park's first phase will include a meadow, upland trails, a large lawn, restrooms and parking. These amenities are expected to be finished and opened to the public in early 2025.
The second phase of the project will add an event space with a stage, picnic pavilion, boardwalk and terraced lawn seating. There's currently no timeline for the start of the second phase.
In 2004, Borski founded the nonprofit Riverfront North (formerly Delaware River City Corp.) with the goal of reconnecting people to a formerly industrial stretch of the city that had become deserted.
Riverfront North has invested more than $45 million in the development and restoration of parks and trails along the greenway, also called the K&T Trail after the former Kensington & Tacony rail line.
The first phase of the Bridesburg park will cost an estimated $7 million, while the second phase is projected to be another $3.7 million. The park was designed by architecture firm Sitio in collaboration with Langan and Ground Reconsidered. The waterfront space will offer views of the Tacony-Palmyra and Betsy Ross bridges.
Near the new park, PennDOT's Delaware Avenue extension will be a two-lane road with a bike path that connects Delaware Avenue from Orthodox Street to the Frankford Boat Launch about 2 1/2 miles north.
The greenway's park and trail system is now in various stages of development. It will ultimately connect to the much larger Circuit Trails that encompass 750 miles of trails in the region. The greenway also will form part of the new East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile trail network that will run through 15 states. About one-third of the work on the East Coast Greenway is now finished.