A community planning process has been in full swing since April 19th of this year to re-envision Enright Park in East Liberty.
In close proximity to the former Penn Plaza Apartments, the park, which was originally situated behind the buildings, is off of Penn Avenue between Negley and South Euclid Avenues. Caught in the crosshairs of the Penn Plaza redevelopment, community members and advocates fought against the sale of this public green space to the owner of the Penn Plaza apartments. In 2016, the City voted to preserve the park, stipulating that it must remain the same size and that new streets could not run through it.
Redesigning the park to better serve the community
Since that point, efforts have been underway to reconfigure the park in a way that makes sense for the community. So far two meetings have been held this year to discuss what neighbors and community members would like to see in the space.
Both meetings were open house style, with boards and images set up to be reviewed by members of the public. Questionnaires were handed out as well as opportunities to make notes directly on presentation materials.
“There’s been lots of input regarding character and amenities, but two clear preferences have been for more than just a single basketball court and for a shelter that keeps out both sun and rain,” Jason Roth, an architect working on the project, noted.
The City is leading the planning process, with staff from both City Planning and Public Works involved, while the design work itself is being done by Studio Bryan Hanes of Philadelphia.
The connection to the Pennley Park South development
Park construction is tied to the new Pennley Park South development on the former Penn Plaza site as there is a land swap involved—the north portion of the park for the southeast portion of the Pennley Park South site. Otherwise, the two projects are not connected.
“Part of the reason to create a clear dividing line with the relocated Eva Street across the site is to sever the park as much as possible from issues around the Pennley Park South development,” Roth said.
Ultimately, the main goal of the park redesign is to make a new and improved space that can be used by anyone in the community.
As Roth put it: “To preserve the best of what’s there—the green, open space, the ability to serve diverse park users simultaneously—while providing improved amenities, such as water features beyond the whale and a shelter for public use.”
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*Photos from the Save Enright Parklet Facebook page.