LOVE Park renovations possible with Nutter, Clarke deal

Love Park. Credit: Wiki Commons.
Love Park. Credit: Wiki Commons.

Love Park will get its facelift.

The stalemate between Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke — over the costs of renovating LOVE Park and the sale of the parking garage below it — ended Monday when the two announced a new agreement in front of the famous statue.

Plans for the renovation of the Park, also known as JFK Plaza, call for a new water feature, expanded entrances, enhanced gardening and green space, and space for concession stands.

The existing visitor’s center may or may not be included in the final design. But the statue stays.

Clarke said the renovations were long overdue, and will “bring some level of vibrancy to the park.”

Nutter originally intended to pay $15 million for the renovations, while Clarke preferred an influx of restaurants at the park to pay for renovations.

“This is going to be a premiere location,” Nutter said. “And we’ll figure out how many, and how big, and how much and all that.”

Per the new agreement, money from the sale of the parking garage, as well as revenue from the concessions, private donations and the city’s capital projects funds, will pay for the project.

The city will also apply for a $3 million state grant, and the city said it’s open to private and corporate donations, or some combination thereof, to help alleviate the need to use taxpayer dollars.

Liberty Property Trust, who partnered with the cable and Internet giant to build the Comcast Center, will help plan and design the renovation for free.

Nutter said the city will look to Liberty to help decide how many concessions will fit.

“We’re going to have a fantastic park,” Nutter said. “It’ll cost whatever it costs, but we want it to be high quality.”

Renovation checklist

- Maintain the park’s diagonal layout.

- Incorporate another main water feature.

- Open all of the sides of the park.

- Expand the green space.

- Limit steps and levels.

- Keep the LOVE Park statue.

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