The Schuylkill Banks trail park has been a huge success in Philadelphia since its opening in 2004. On any given day, one can observe city some of the 14,000 residents that pass through the park every day, enjoying the park; from joggers to picnickers to people fishing.
The 1.2-mile stretch of grass, trees and walkway provides the kind of social space that today’s urbanites crave. Few cities can boast such convenience. The trail is a short jog from downtown offices, West Philadelphia universities, and a tapestry of neighborhoods – making it both a commuter route and a leisure destination.
But now a new attraction might be coming to the area, Water Magic, which is a giant 70-feet tall semi circle water screen in the middle of the Schuylkill River between Chestnut and Walnut Streets that will face the Schuylkill Banks. At night, the screen will be illuminated with video images created by video artists, sight specific theatrical performers, and musicians from around the world.
During the day, and evening there will also be 20 associated animated robotic controlled fountain plumes will create vertical wave patterns from Vine to South Street. Like Disney’s World of Color, the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and WaterFire in Providence, RI, it will be a spectacle that will attract overnight visitors and become the symbol of a culturally vibrant city, according to the Water Magic website.
The project will be environmentally friendly as well, with the installation of a solar and wind farm down the river that will provide a Green Endowment which will pay for all operating costs of the fountains.
No doubt this sounds like a fun and exciting addition to the city that will draw many tourists at a low cost, resulting in rising revenues for the city, but does it fundamentally change the fabric of that area, turning it from a calm residential urban getaway to a tourist trap.
What do you think about this? Do you like how it sounds or would you rather preserve the atmosphere of the current park?