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March 27, 2015

LOVE Park redesign plans unveiled

Proposals include large lawn, fountain, garden

Design LOVE Park
Carroll - LOVE Park Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Love Park in Center City Philadelphia.

The design firm overseeing Philadelphia’s LOVE Park renovation unveiled its four concept drawings at a public meeting on Tuesday.

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A poll at the end of Tuesday’s meeting found a near even split among the four conceptual designs, PlanPhilly reported.

New York-based firm Hargreaves Associates will oversee the $13.85 million renovation of the 2.5-acre John F. Kennedy Plaza, better known as “LOVE Park,” with an overall goal of making it more accessible, artistic and interactive. 

The park’s defining LOVE sculpture and its pedestal will remain as is, possibly moving a few feet if at all, according to PlanPhilly, which covered the meeting.

PennPraxis, the University of Pennsylvania research group that oversaw the civic engagement process, said the public overwhelmingly wants to see “a lush LOVE Park, with safe and well-kept spaces that facilitate gathering and forge a strong link to the Parkway,” PlanPhilly said.

Each of the proposed designs calls for a sizable lawn more or less in center of the park, a fountain of varying shape and size but not in the park's center, a garden, and space for events and festivals. 

The redesign will also include a renovation or replacement of the park's spherical Fairmount Park Welcome Center and some new art, but the artwork will not be another scripture or statue, the city’s Public Art Director Margot Berg said. 

The concept and artist behind the new art is expected to be announced in May.

A man walks past the LOVE sculpture in the JFK Plaza in Philadelphia in October 1998. (AP file art)

The next meeting to go over plans for the park is set for April 30, at which time Hargreaves Associates is expected to unveil a single conceptual design for the park. Then, the plan will be presented before the city’s Art Commission for a final stamp of approval.

If all goes according to plan, construction bids will be in place next winter and construction will begin in the spring of 2016. From that point, the park will be closed for about nine months to a year, PlanPhilly said.

Read the full PlanPhilly report on the LOVE Park redesign plans here.

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