University breaks ground on 24-acre Penn Park project

Penn Park artist renderings  Photo credit: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

On Friday, Nov. 6, President Amy Gutmann will join Penn Trustees, community leaders and members of the campus community in breaking ground on Penn Park, the centerpiece of the University’s Penn Connects master development plan.

Stretching along the west bank of the Schuylkill River, Penn Park will transform 24 acres of land the University acquired from the U.S. Postal Service into outdoor athletic fields, a tennis center and elevated pedestrian walkways. The urban green space will replace what is currently a barren sweep of parking lots and storage sheds.

When completed in 2011, Penn Park will be one of the most visible expressions of the Penn Connects development plan, designed to invigorate commercial development along the Walnut Street corridor and complete William Penn's historic plan to create a "green country towne."

The project will increase the University’s green space by 20 percent, making environmentally sustainable use of native grasses, trees and shrubs. During its construction, Penn will recycle and reuse all the asphalt, cobblestones and granite that is excavated.

Designed by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, Penn Park will place the University, once again, at the forefront of innovative land use and responsible urban development.

Originally published on November 5, 2009