New designs were recently unveiled for two exciting projects at FDR Park:

  • A first-ever Welcome Center.
  • A world-class destination play space.
This work is made possible by a $50 million investment from the City of Philadelphia. It is part of the Gateway phase of the FDR Park Master Plan. The Gateway projects aim to encourage visitors to stay longer in the park and visit more often.

The projects are a partnership among:

  • Fairmount Park Conservancy
  • Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
  • Friends of FDR Park

Check out these project details:

Artist’s image of the FDR Park Welcome Center viewed from the park drive.

The Welcome Center

This project will restore and transform a guardhouse located on Pattison Avenue near Broad Street.

The new Welcome Center will feature:

  • An open-air courtyard to serve as a community gathering space.
  • A staffed information center where visitors will be able to:
  • Learn about about upcoming events.
  • Rent equipment to use in the park.
  • Sign up for park permits.
  • Food and beverage vendors.
  • Restrooms.
  • A 30-person co-working space for park staff and community partners.

The former stables next to the Welcome Center will also be given new life. They will be turned into a cafe and separate event space overlooking Pattison Lagoon.

Artist’s image of the play area at FDR Park.

The Children’s Play Area: South Philadelphia’s Destination Play Space

Next to the Welcome Center will be a new play space that will encourage nature play for all ages and abilities. It will be the largest of its kind in South Philadelphia. This play area is a response to community input gathered over the past year. Children and their caregivers requested more play spaces for climbing, swinging, and exploring.

Designers WRT created a plan for the play area based on this feedback. The space will allow “wonder and wander” around the two-acre site, which will include:

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

The design of the Children’s Play Area was funded by:

  • A $250,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
  • A $250,000 matching contribution from the Fairmount Park Conservancy.
Artist’s image of the central courtyard at the Welcome Center.


Next Steps

The construction of the Welcome Center and play areas should begin in the summer of 2022. The play space is expected to be completed by the summer of 2023. The Welcome Center should open in the fall of 2023.

The final Gateway project will be Pattison Plaza at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. The design of that project should begin in 2022.

Let us know! Follow the link to complete a short survey. This will help the Fairmount Park Conservancy know what you'd like to see at the site.