U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, City Council President Darrell Clarke, representatives of the Center City District and SEPTA, and Philadelphia labor officials for the groundbreaking of a $50 million investment to renovate Dilworth Plaza in Philadelphia. Schwartz regularly communicated with Sec. LaHood to secure $15 million for this critical investment.
This project will create more than 900 construction jobs with $22 million in wages over the 27 months of the project. By early 2014, Dilworth Plaza will be transformed into an active public plaza for residents, employees and visitors, making it an inviting, attractive destination and public transportation hub.
“Dilworth Plaza’s renovation puts it on the path to becoming one of the country’s most prominent outdoor urban civic spaces by linking together the city’s retail, dining, cultural and entertainment districts,” Schwartz said. “It is a smart, strategic investment that will breathe new life into Center City Philadelphia. It will stimulate local economic development by creating more than 900 well-paying construction jobs, improving transportation and infrastructure, and enhancing accessibility for residents and visitors.”
“President Obama has challenged us to build an economy that works for everyone, and with the work starting today, Dilworth Plaza will meet that challenge,” Secretary LaHood said. “All across America, there is work to be done on projects like this. Now is the time to connect people who need work with the work we need to do to improve our nation’s transit centers, highways, railways, airports and ports.”
“The newly renovated Dilworth Plaza will create more than 900 jobs and will make Dilworth Plaza a green, transit-oriented park for Philadelphians and visitors,” Nutter said. “I’d like to thank Secretary LaHood, SEPTA and especially Center City District for working in partnership with the City to complete this project.”
“The Center City District thanks all who have supported the transformation of Dilworth Plaza into one of the most vibrant civic spaces in the city,” said Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the Center City District. “This critically important capital investment will generate over 900 construction jobs, will enhance the pedestrian and transit-rider experience and provide a place for visitors, residents and workers to meet, relax and enjoy the 24-hour amenities of our growing downtown.”
The transformation of Dilworth Plaza includes a large lawn, tree groves, seating for 400, a programmable fountain and a café. During winter, a portable ice rink will cover the fountain area. The concourse beneath Dilworth Plaza will be dramatically improved as a new transit gateway, providing entrances to Broad Street and Market Street subways and the trolley lines. New elevators will make the transit platforms accessible for the first time and a unique work of public art will highlight the movement of trains below the Plaza.
Dilworth Plaza is situated among towering residential and office buildings in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, immediately adjacent to historic City Hall, and at the juxtaposition of the expanding Pennsylvania Convention Center, the thriving Avenue of the Arts performing district, and the beginning of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway cultural district.
The funds for this project were provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s TIGER Discretionary Grant funding program. The Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery grant program was included in the Recovery Act to spur national competition for innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that promise significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, a region or the nation.