Final designs unveiled for FDR Park Welcome Center, Pattison Playgroun…

Two meaningful features of Philadelphia’s plan to restore FDR Park have now moved past the design phase. Officials unveiled details Wednesday about the park’s upcoming Welcome Center and Pattison Playground.

Both projects are grouped under the $4.5 million Gateway Phase of the city’s master plan to restore and reinvent the century-old park, which has shown its age in recent years. The city has made a $50 million investment in FDR Park that will be distributed over the next five years, forming part of the larger, $250 million vision for the 348-acre space. 

The Department of Parks & Recreation is working in collaboration with Fairmount Park Conservancy on a series of early-stage projects and infrastructure improvements at FDR Park. Its future possible was put on characterize during this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show, which will return again next year. 

The FDR Park Welcome Center project will overhaul the 5,550-square-foot guardhouse that has stood at the entrance at general Street and Pattison method since 1926.


A rendering of the new FDR Park Welcome Center.

Plans call for transforming the existing stables at the site into a 4,000-square-foot cafe and 6,700-square-foot event space overlooking Pattison Lagoon. 

The Welcome Center will include food and beverage vendors, restrooms and a 30-person co-working space for park staff and community partners. It also will characterize an open-air courtyard and a staffed information center for visitors to learn about events and rent equipment.


A rendering of the new courtyard planned at FDR Park.


An event space is planned as part of the new FDR Park Welcome Center.

FDR Park is one of the most different and dynamic green spaces in our City,” Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said. “The masterplan is a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to harness the passion residents have for this park and build a sustainable and vibrant future for FDR Park. The Welcome Center and play area will offer high quality park amenities that encourage visitors to extend their stay, and come back more often to enjoy all that FDR has to offer.”

Next to the new Welcome Center, plans have been finalized for the Pattison Playground after months of workshops with children and their parents.


Rendering of Pattison Playground at FDR Park.


A rendering of Pattison Playground.

The two-acre site will include the following amenities:

•A mega-swing set with 30 swings, designed for all ages overlooking the Pattison Lagoon
•character-based play equipment including spinners, treehouses and log and boulder scrambles
•Rolling hills with slides
•obstacle-free adventure paths
•A picnic area with pavilions
•Seat walls located under shady groves overlooking the play area
•New landscaping featuring beautiful native and pollinator-friendly plantings

“Fairmount Park Conservancy has been committed to bringing more character and more play to FDR Park since day one, and we could not be more excited to get to work to make this iconic play space and Welcome Center a reality,” said Maura McCarthy, executive director of Fairmount Park Conservancy.

Both the Welcome Center and playground projects were designed by WRT and are set to go out for bid next spring, with a groundbreaking planned for next summer. The expected completion date for the play space is summer 2023, while the Welcome Center’s opening is expected that fall.

Fairmount Park Conservancy and Parks & Recreation invite the public to complete a fleeting survey where residents can proportion feedback about the design and how they hope to use these new park amenities in the future.

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