Friends of Race Street Pier 6:00 PM at Franklin Fountain, 116 Market St 03.14.2011
Notes Summary Background: While great parks certainly make great neighborhoods, what makes a great park is great people. While many “Friends Groups” form around the reclamation of a neglected park site, Race Street Pier presents a unique opportunity for a stewardship group to focus on positive use for the park starting from the beginning. One of the most important things a park can do is bring exciting events and build neighborhood interest in a park as a destination. This friends group would be charger to help citizens organize around the park to create energy and buzz about this new public space on the riverfront….. Discussion: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) provided a summary of the purpose of friends groups for parks and set the context for why it is important to establish a new group of interested citizens for the Race Street Pier. Below are some key points from the discussion: • To create energy and excitement around the opening of the new park • To encourage neighbors and stakeholders to “adopt” and serve as long term champions for the park. • The design of the pier was completed in 2010 after an intensive civic engagement process led by PHS. • This developing friends group is in an exciting position because the group will be in place from the beginning of the park and focused on creating positive use instead of eradicating negative behavior. • PHS referenced its City Parks Handbook as something that will help to guide interested citizens as they form a new park group. • This group can and should work with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) to develop community centric programming for the park. Such programming might include movie nights, arts festivals, exercise days on the pier, game night, etc. • The DRWC is the nonprofit that owns the park and is charged with implementing the design of the park and maintaining the park once it is open. The DRWC also has staff dedicated to
developing various programs along the riverfront -‐-‐ for the past few years the DWRC has been focused on producing large-‐scale events at Penn’s Landing and Festival Pier. In recent years the DRWC has started to develop a more community focused approach to programming and is now looking how it can better serve community parks. The Friends of Race Street Pier have a unique opportunity to work with the DRWC from the beginning in order to define events and programs that would benefit the community. • Most people attending the meeting indicated that they had not been involved with a park friends group before. PHS will work with the interested members to show how some of the best practices that they have developed over the years might be applied to the Race Street Pier. • PHS is also working with a newly developing friends group, the Friends of Washington Avenue Green (WAG). Many of the issues and opportunities presented to WAG will be applicable to Race Street Pier. It might make sense to organize a meeting with both groups in order to brainstorm about how these new friends groups might play a larger role in waterfront planning efforts. Breakout Session: In addition to the group discussion, participants broke into smaller groups to have a more focused discussion of the possible role of the friends group. Following are some of the key takeaways: • It is important to celebrate the historic nature of the park. The friends group might find ways to remind park users about the past. • The park has the potential to bring people together. This can be achieved through events, keeping a listserv of interested citizens, embracing social media and keeping it up-‐to-‐date, • It is important to develop new audiences and cater to diverse audiences. The friends feel free to organize events for families, singles, children, etc. • All groups loved the idea of moving forward with a movie night. The groups began to think through what it would take to produce a movie night. The details are discussed below under the tasks of the programming committee. • One group liked the idea of getting the local schools involved with the pier in creative and artistic ways. They thought about initiating a competition (perhaps for a logo?) and encouraging field trips to the pier. • Small concerts were identified as a potentially fun way to program the pier. Participants focused on supporting local musicians. • There was also a call for food-‐based events. • Attendees expressed interest in being a part of the DRWC’s conversations as they begin to establish the rules for the new park. • One group indicated that, for the long term, it would be important to begin thinking about developing a fund for the park.
The group began to define some key committees that will be essential for getting the group up and running and helping the DRWC create the energy and buzz that will be so essential to making this new public park space an asset to the city. General Programming: Volunteer Organizers: Graham, Andrew, and Michael a. This group will begin brainstorming about possible event and gatherings that would be well suited to the pier. b. The group will think about the various audiences that the pier should serve c. To Do: Arrange a casual meeting to brainstorm. Some initial ideas for events include: single events, movie nights, game nights, sky events (ie star gazing), exercise. Across the board, participants liked the idea of a movie night. Some initial thinking on what it would take organize a movie night included: − Get sponsor − How would this logistically work − Projector in the landscape? − Determine themes and content d. To Do: Talk to neighbors, business owners in order to get a sense of what people might be interested in doing on the pier. Look for opportunities to engage new audiences with the park. e. Possible Event: Historic Riverfront Walking Tour. Old City resident, Richard S and the Old City Civic Association are interested in the historic waterfront and Richard and the group are working on developing a riverfront tour. This is an event that the Friends of Race Street Pier might choose to support. Richard and Ryan B, president of the OCC, can serve as liaisons between the friends group and the historic group. CONTACT FOR ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE: Tammy Leigh DeMent, PHS tdement@Pennhort.org Communication: Volunteer Organizers: Liv, April, Liz N. and Jeff A. This group will begin brainstorming about how to use social media (facebook, twitter) in an effort to attract people to the new park and keep audiences informed about what is happening on the park. B. Develop a logo for the organization – perhaps through a publicized competition. Might this be away to engage the Creative Corridor in Old City? C. Work with DRWC to have input on signage. The community will be an important player in helping to provide key directional elements of any signage package. CONTACT FOR ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE: Bridget Keegan, PennPraxis
Important dates to keep in mind: •
Hard Hat Tour of the pier Tuesday, April 19th This tour will provide interested neighbors with a sneak peak tour of the pier. If members of the programming committee are interested in helping to organize a post-‐tour happy hour and meet and greet type session, they should contact Bridget Keegan at (215)898-‐ 6316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grand Opening Wednesday, May 11th – Preview Gala. More detailed information will be shared when available. Thursday, May 12th – Ribbon Cutting, 2pm. More detailed information will be shared when available. If anyone is interested in getting more involved and/or has a great idea about possible events and outreach, definitely reach out to Tammy Leigh DeMent at tdement@Pennhort.org. Because the friends group is just forming, PHS will serve as a key point of contact and group facilitator. PHS will work to put the friends group in touch with any party, entity, etc. that will help the friends group better serve this new waterfront park. •
The following tables highlight some of the concerns and goals as articulated in each breakout session:
Programming Goals – 21 DOTS TOTAL Film or movie night (11 dots)
crafts and similar types of events at the park (3 dots) Small concerts, jazz, folk, acoustic. Possibly involving universities like XPN (2 dots) Historic storytelling tours (2 dots), Seasonal attractions and events (1 dot) Fireworks viewing(1 dot) Sky events (1 dot)
Practical concerns -‐17 DOTS TOTAL
Install directional signage, possibly a competition to design the logo (8 dots) Park as a safe, well maintained, well lit, connected place (4 dots) Encourages safety and enforcement of rules (3 dots) Power source for concerts (1 dot) Quality food for park, more upscale than Penn’s Landing vendors (1 dot) • During the larger discussion attendees expressed some concerns about there being too many fireworks events on the waterfront. • During the discussion, attendees indicated that it is important that the park remains a public space and that the whole park is not used for private events.
Community Awareness – 9 DOTS TOTAL
Create community awareness, ownership, pride of park (6 dots) Meet people, bring the community together (2 dots) Outreach (1 dot)
Fundraising and Economic Goals – 7 DOTS TOTAL
Raise funds to keep park healthy, clean, a contingency fund for the park, maintenance (3 dots) Want park to act as an anchor for economic benefit and to activate the Race St corridor (1 dot) Explore hitting on sugarhouse for $ (1 dot) Use events to raise money (1 dot) Create an endowment fund(1 dot)
Partnerships – 6 DOTS TOTAL Involve local schools in creative/artistic ways (2 dots) Involve and connect local business (1 dot) ID partnerships (1 dot) Meet up group, encourage other groups to meet there (1 dot) Ask gyms etc to use for yoga etc (1 dot)
Other Goals Campaign to get the park on tourism maps, etc , like Franklin Square (3 dots) Long term relevance (annual event, becomes part of the neighborhood)(1 dot) Right balance of activity (1 dot) Another connection besides Race St – cell phone tours, Market Street? (1 dot) Regular meetings of the Friends first (1 dot) Need a point person (1 dot) Beautification group (1 dot) Volunteer presence on pier (1 dot)