What's Happening Around Port Richmond and the Lehigh Viaduct

What's Happening Around Port Richmond and the Lehigh Viaduct

Recently, a $3.5 million state grant was awarded for phase 1 of the Viaduct Rail Park project

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program awarded the grant for this project, along with many others throughout Philadelphia. With the grant, the Rail Park achieved the necessary $9.6 million to break ground on the first phase. Phase One of the park broke ground on October 31st, 2016.

While the project has been delayed by the state budget impasse many times, it's finally becoming a reality. The Rail Park already had $5.1 million in funding when Kevin Bacon's band hosted a concert in January to raise even more funds for the project.

Along with this fundraiser, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society used a pop-up park to raise awareness this summer. The park itself even underwent a re-branding campaign to help raise awareness throughout the city.

Rail Park rendering by Studio Bryan Hanes

Rail Park rendering by Studio Bryan Hanes

Benefit of the New Rail Park

The Rail Park will provide a number of benefits to the Lehigh Viaduct and Port Richmond area. It will begin as a quarter-mile stretch, but will eventually extend to the Northern Liberties and through Fairmount. The three-mile park will take an unused rail line and turn it into a usable public space.

Currently, the rail line includes a tunnel, which is rather scary and overgrown. The redevelopment and creation of the Rail Park will take this tunnel and turn it into one of the better civic spaces in Philadelphia.

The Abandoned Railway Below Philadelphia by PBS Digital Studios

After the entire project has been completed, it will connect 50 city blocks and 10 neighborhoods. It will run underground and help to bring new life to the Reading Railroad. Port Richmond, East Kensington and other nearby neighborhoods will all benefit from the new Rail Park.

The Port Richmond Transformation

Before the Rail Park was fully funded, developments throughout Port Richmond had already begun. Many multi-unit developments are currently underway including a development at 2989-99 Livingston Street.

This old world neighborhood has attracted more than just multi-unit developments. Eight large homes are planned for 2841-47 Belgrade Street, which was announced earlier this year. Nine other homes were developed in 2011, which sold in the mid to high $200K range. The new project on Belgrade Street is expected to draw prices in the low $300K range.

Many other developments have already been completed, such as the Port Richmond Ghost Sign Apartment. This apartment features high ceilings, granite countertops and a piece of Port Richmond history. The Kolb's Pan-Dandy Bread Boy was found behind plaster during development. Now, it's a feature of the apartment.

Image of the Pan-Dandy Bread Boy by Conrad Benner/Streets Dept

Image of the Pan-Dandy Bread Boy by Conrad Benner/Streets Dept

With so many developments popping up throughout the Port Richmond and Lehigh Viaduct area, it may become the next hot neighborhood in Philadelphia.

Become a Friend of the Rail Park by Good Motion Project