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Opening Penn Park

September 6, 2011, Volume 58, No. 02

Grand Opening of Penn Park—An Urban Oasis

The much-anticipated opening of Penn Park—the centerpiece of Penn Connects­— is scheduled for next week with a Grand Opening Picnic hosted by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Trustee Chair David L. Cohen, on Thursday September 15, from 5-7:30 p.m., featuring picnic food, live entertainment, club sports, field activities, and fireworks.

On Saturday, September 17, there will be a Field Day, 4-6 p.m. with sport team clinics, tug of war, human chess, inflatable games and refreshments with the Penn football game vs. Lafayette at 6 p.m. and fireworks to follow.


Penn Park is 24 acres of continuous open space that includes athletic and recreational facilities owned and operated by the University of Pennsylvania. This new sustainable park, bordered on the north by Walnut Street, the east by Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor rail line, the west by SEPTA’s Regional rail line, and to the south by South Street, is connected to 10 acres of pre-existing Penn athletic facilities to its south known as the River Fields Complex.    

Proceeding south from Walnut Street, the Park contains Ace Adams Field and Dunning-Cohen Champions’ Field, which will be used for practice and club/intramural competition; a 470- seat multipurpose stadium that is also an NCAA regulation women’s softball field; and 12 tennis courts, with 200 seat viewing stands. Between these facilities are pathways, elevated bridge connections and open space for passive recreation; more than 500 trees adorn the landscaped pathways for walking and jogging. The Park is served by a 210-car surface parking lot bordering the north boundary along lower Walnut Street; visitor parking fee $8/day. The Penn Bus will stop there M-F, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. In addition, a security station and restrooms reside in the stadium.

Penn Park integrates athletic venues and park- like spaces. It has two acres of open spaces not specified for athletic use. They are: Highline Green, a grassy area along the elevated rail line; South Lawn, a open space between Ace Adams Field and the multipurpose stadium; the Picnic Grove—an open space nestled between the Dunning-Cohen Champions’ Field, the multipurpose stadium and Highline Green, and the South Green, a grass recreation field south of the Hamlin Tennis Center. It is easily accessed from the west by the Paley Bridge. The multipurpose stadium, in the heart of the complex, is designed for live music concerts and other types of gatherings.

Penn Park is open to the public. Non-affiliated parties can enjoy the multiple open spaces for recreation, and use the area as a pedestrian connection for walking, jogging and biking.

The Park hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to midnight. Individual facilities within the Park will be scheduled through Penn’s Department of Recreation and Intramural Athletics.

Penn Park is a year-round facility. A seasonal air structure will be inflated over the Dunning-Cohen Champions’ Field to allow indoor athletic activities and practices during the winter months.  

For a complete list of the Penn Park rules and to schedule athletic fields visit pennpark.upenn.edu

Penn Park by the Numbers

2,000,000 gallons of storm water, on average, projected to be collected annually by the underground cisterns.

300,000 watts of energy saved per hour through state-of-the-art “Green” lighting system.

250,000 square feet of synthetic athletic fields not requiring mowing, fertilizer and water.

250,000 square feet of sod planted in the Park.

157,000 square feet of meadow grass planted.

103,000 square feet of grass seed planted.

40,000 cubic yards of engineered planting soil brought on site.

2,200 underground piles to support landforms and structures.

548 new trees planted, including a range of species such as White Pine, Metasequoia, Larch, Balsam Pine, Catalpa, Hackberry and Swamp White Oak.

470 seats in multipurpose stadium.

200 viewing stand capacity for the Hamlin Tennis Center.

46.5 million dollars invested by Penn in creating Penn Park. *

14 acres of asphalt acquired by Penn from the United States Post Office. 

3 Pedestrian bridge connections to access the Park, including Paley Bridge, Weave Bridge and Walnut Street Bridge.

2 acres of open green fields including South Lawn, Picnic Grove, and South Green.

1 University of Pennsylvania.

* Note: This $46.5 million investment used institutional resources, and philanthropy with no public dollars, but is creating a public benefit.

Almanac - September 6, 2011, Volume 58, No. 02