Hundreds gathered on the west side of City Hall Thursday to help break in the renovated Dilworth Park, which opened to the public with a grand celebration.
The park, while still unfinished, did offer a complete rebuild of the previously rundown plaza. The new park includes a Jose Garces cafe, fountains that will change over to an ice-skating rink in the fall, and sloping glass head-houses that lead to the renovated SEPTA concourses below.
Dan Levy, head of the Center City District, said the grassy area won't be ready until mid-October and the remainder of the 15th Street trees will be installed closer to Thanksgiving.
Levy said the park, which cost $55 million to build, is only part of the grand, $100 million plan to completely renovate City Hall station.
Jerri Williams, SEPTA's director of communication, said that delicate project is still years away from completion.
The new cafe, at the northern end of the park, will seat about 30 inside and about 25 on the square. It will be open from 7 a.m. to about 8 p.m. during the week and longer on weekends. Breakfast will feature freshly roasted coffee and pastries and Rosa-staple dishes for lunch and dinner.
And armed with a liquor license, the cafe will serve alcohol after 5 p.m. and on the weekends.
To launch the new park, the Center City District will continue its opening festival from Friday to Sept. 6.
On Sept. 5, residents can attend a “Picnic in the Park,” from noon to 7 p.m. and will feature traditional picnic foods and a happy hour.
On Sept. 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., “Playtime in the Park,” will host activities for children.
Throughout the year the park will also host small band performances, movie showings and cultural events, such as Octoberfest.