After years of waiting and millions in renovations, LOVE Park officially re-opens

The fountain is back — with a 'basinless basin.'

Mike DeNardo
May 30, 2018 - 2:04 pm
The new LOVE Park is officially open.

Mike DeNardo-KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — One of Philadelphia's iconic public spaces is officially reopened, after years of delays and planning. 

It was once a haven for skateboarders. Now, as the mayor and city officials gathered for the ribbon-cutting to reopen LOVE Park, Diana Mangraviti of Northeast Philadelphia was taking in its new, flat design.

"The old park was very traditional," she said. "This fountain is the best example of it. It's so minimalistic."

Mary Margaret Jones, the principal landscape architect from Hargreaves Associates, says people wanted to preserve the fountain as part of the view up the Parkway. 

"People loved that 30-foot-tall jet. But they hated the basin. Especially in the wintertime, when it was ugly and empty," Jones said. "So we came up with this idea of creating this beautiful elliptical plaza that is, in essence, a basinless basin."

The two-year, $26 million project was delayed several times — because the park sits over a parking garage, and during construction, crews found water lines and stone structures they hadn't known were there.

The renovated park will be home to five food trucks. The old visitors center — known as the "flying saucer" — is still being renovated. It's expected to reopen with a new restaurant this fall.

When the construction fencing came down at Christmas, a lot of people criticized LOVE Park for its lack of seating and greenery. Jones says the park was still a work in progress during that time — and it actually has more trees now than it did before. She says it doesn't look that way, because the trees are young.

"Once they did the finishing touches and put out the red tables," added Mangraviti, "it's going to be good for Gen Z."