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Philadelphia To Expand Schuylkill River Trail

Taken in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in April ...Taken in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in April 2006. The Schuylkill River Trail, a multi-use landscape trail built as part of the Schuylkill Banks improvement project, runs along the Schuylkill River. JFK Boulevard bridge, with SEPTA railroad bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New segment of the Circuit Trails to expand Schuylkill River Trail and connect users to Southwest Philadelphia and historic Bartram’s Garden 

Philadelphia, November 23, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City officials gathered with members of the community, including school students from Woodland Academy and Richard Allen School, to break ground on the Bartram’s Mile Trail. The future 1.1 mile trail will expand the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) from Grays Ferry Avenue to 56th Street and unlock an important connection point in the Circuit Trails, Greater Philadelphia’s multi-use trail network.

“The long-awaited Bartram’s Mile Trail will be another incredible addition to the Circuit Trails, a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths that unite Philadelphia and its neighboring suburbs.  This one-mile stretch will connect Southwest Philly residents with the Schuylkill River Trail and increase access to parks and greens spaces, including Bartram’s Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the country and an historic Philadelphia gem,” said Mayor Nutter.  “This new trail is an important step toward better access to our riverfront.  I want to thank all of our partners in making the Bartram’s Mile Trail a reality.”

The proposed trail will complete an important gap in the SRT, providing users with access to southwest Philadelphia and the historic Bartram’s Garden. The trail segment is expected to be completed by fall 2016 and cost an estimated $6 million. The project is made possible through support from the William Penn Foundation, Knight Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Lenfest Foundation, PennDOT, the City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Philadelphia Commerce Department, Philadelphia Water Department and Councilwoman Blackwell.

“We are pleased to celebrate this important milestone with our partners and the community.  The Bartram’s Mile will be an important amenity for this neighborhood and the city, connecting people to the river open spaces and Bartram’s Garden,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources.

Maitreyi Roy, Executive Director of Bartram’s Garden, said, “The new trail will open up Bartram’s Garden to a whole new audience of Philadelphians who were never able to reach the gardens before.  We are thrilled to welcome new and returning guests into our community and showcase the beauty of the natural habitat we have curated and developed here at Bartram’s.”

This Bartram’s Mile Trail groundbreaking comes on the heels of the funding announcement for the proposed Schuylkill Crossing at Grays Ferry.  Development of the bridge is currently in its early stages, but is expected to break ground as early as this summer. The future bridge will connect to Bartram’s Mile Trail on one end and Grays Ferry Crescent Trail on the other, further connecting Schuylkill Banks.

“As the Circuit Trails expand and critical gaps are closed, we will continue to see an influx of users from all around the region exploring trails, open spaces and watersheds that were previously inaccessible,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, interim Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Chair of the Circuit Coalition.  “The trails connect people to resources, and Bartram’s Mile Trail is a great example of how a new trail can bring neighbors together and create new connections to the City’s resources.”

This trail extension is one of many planned construction projects that will bring new life to Schuylkill Banks south of the South Street Bridge.

About the Circuit Trails:

Greater Philadelphia is the proud home of the Circuit, a vast regional trail network, composed of hundreds of miles of interconnected trails, that is growing in size each year. One of America’s largest trail networks, the Circuit is composed of 300 miles of completed trails with a vision of completing 750 miles of trails across the nine-county region in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A collaboration of nearly 65 nonprofit organizations, foundations and agencies is working to advance the completion of the Circuit Trails.  A premiere regional amenity, the Circuit Trails connect people to jobs, communities, parks and waterways.  Learn more at ConnecttheCircuit.org and connect with the Circuit Trails on FacebookTwitter andInstagram to find out what is happening #onthecircuit.

About Schuylkill Banks:

Schuylkill Banks is a project of the City of Philadelphia and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (SRDC). Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is the owner of Schuylkill Banks, which is part of the Fairmount Park System.  SRDC is revitalizing Philadelphia’s tidal Schuylkill River corridor into an asset that connects neighborhoods and encourages investment. Working with the City and stakeholders to build, maintain, and program Schuylkill Banks, SRDC drives improvements in recreation and transportation, community and economic development, public health, and environmental stewardship, benefiting neighbors, Philadelphia and the region.