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July 18, 2023

New FDR Park playground to open with largest swing set on the continent

The Anna C. Verna Playground and its so-called "megaswing" are on track for a late summer opening

Recreation Parks
FDR Park megaswing Provided image/Fairmount Park Conservancy

A rendering depicts the curving Skyline Swing, reportedly the largest swing set in North America.

FDR Park's new playground promises treehouses, slides and a colossal "megaswing" that seats 20.

The Anna C. Verna Playground, a 2.15-acre space located near the Pattison Lagoon, is slated to open later this summer after a year of construction. Its star attraction is the Skyline Swing, billed as the largest swing set in North America. Open to all ages, the set will overlook the Pattison Lagoon. Guests at the ticketed Playground Party fundraiser will be the first to swing from it on Thursday, Aug. 24.

MORE: 34-mile Camden County nature trail to be built with $19 million federal grant

The playground will also include slides, tree houses, log and boulder scrambles, nine picnic sites and a picnic pavilion. Named after the first female president of the Philadelphia City Council, the new space was designed with a water permeable cork surface to better weather flooding, a frequent issue in FDR Park. 

FDR Park playground renderingProvided image/Fairmount Park Conservancy

Another rendering of the playground shows slides and other new equipment.

The $5 million playground is merely the second project in the wider FDR Park Plan, which will transform the 348-acre green space in three phases over four years. The initial "gateway" phase launched in 2022 with the construction of a new welcome center on the east side of the lagoon. The second "nature" phase also began last summer with a native wetland project in the park's southwest corner. 

The $250 million plan, described as a "once-in-a generation opportunity to reimagine" the park, was unveiled in 2019. It calls for a dozen multipurpose sports fields as well as 10 miles of trails and sustainable stormwater management.

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