On June 14 at 11am, the Rail Park was officially opened in a ribbon cutting ceremony held at the Noble Street entrance to the quarter-mile linear park.
Following 19 months of construction and $11 million in funding, the existing stretch from 1300 Noble Street to 1100 Callowhill may some day constitute just a fraction of a miles-long path system that champions envision.
But for now, the crowds seemed plenty happy to enjoy what has been built so far. The park’s current identity stems to an August 2016 rebranding, before which it had been known as the Viaduct Park and/or Viaduct Greene.
“I can’t overstate how important this park is to the Callowhill neighborhood and the city as a whole,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.
Festivities were scored by a saxophone quartet from the Philadelphia Pops, and a traditional dragon dance was provided by representatives from neighboring Chinatown.
“This park it will connect people, it will connect communities, it will connect—ultimately when it extends the entire three miles which is the great vision for this Rail Park—it will connect our whole city,” said Philly Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott-Lovell.
Center City District CEO Paul Levy, an early advocate of the park, said that donations were collected from 297 organizations and individuals. The largest funding came from the State of Pennsylvania, William Penn Foundation, and Knight Foundation.
Immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony, crowds flooded the park, and enjoyed some pizza donated by nearby Bufad.
Read more coverage of the grand opening ceremony: