Dickinson Square Park is a three-acre park in the middle of South Philadelphia’s Pennsport neighborhood, near the Delaware River waterfront. Pennsport is an old neighborhood, known for the Mummer clubhouses along Second Street (known to the locals as 2 Street) and for its proximity to the Delaware waterfront shipping terminals and shopping centers, the 9th Street (Italian) Market, Fourth Street’s Fabric Row, I-95 and I-676 to the Walt Whitman Bridge to New Jersey, and the Sports Complex and XfinityLive entertainment venues. Pennsport is, also, home to the S.S. United States, a former cruise liner that was the fastest and most prominent passenger ship of its day when it was built in the 1950s. The S.S. United States sits anchored along the waterfront, across from the IKEA shopping center, waiting for a developer to renovate it to avoid the historic ship from being scrapped. Hopefully a developer (preferably from Philadelphia, where the ship can be docked near the most historic square mile in America) will buy it for renovation, but in the meantime there is an organization, the S.S. United States Conservancy, that is raising money to keep it preserved. Anyhow, Dickinson Square Park was once the location of the Pascal Iron Works and it sits between Moyamensing Avenue and Fourth Street, and Tasker and Morris Streets. It is surrounded by large townhouses, including some upscale brownstone homes, making it feel a bit like South Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square because of the quality of upscale homes. The new renovation adds a bit of Rittenhouse-style glamour, while still providing many opportunities for recreation.
While always a popular destination for relaxation and recreation, the park had become a little tired and frayed around the edges. The local neighborhood groups, including the Friends of Dickinson Square Park, Dickinson Square West Civic Association, and the Pennsport Civic Association, had organized to renovate and upgrade much of the park. They created a master plan and started renovations, with funds from city and state agencies, in 2011 that were completed last year. The Friends of Dickinson Square Park have regular park clean-ups and other events, including a popular farmers market every Sunday in the warm weather, and outdoor movies, concerts, and festivals. The renovation involved rebuilding the park’s interior walkways and playgrounds. A small wooden building was removed while the Parsons (community) Center building, in the center, was renovated. New benches, lights, bike racks, garbage cans, trees, game tables (with chess/checker boards), and landscaping were added. Two new playgrounds were built in the middle of the park, with swings; slides; a see-saw; and the like, and new basketball courts were built on the southeast corner.
These improvements make the park more functional and attractive and will, likely, add to demand for housing in the neighborhood. The surrounding blocks are experiencing some small-scale development, as well as, a larger development called Moyamensing Estates, a 15-townhouse development a block south of Dickinson Square Park on Moyamensing. Also, the large Vare Elementary School, across from the park on Moyamensing, is scheduled to be closed by the School District and may be available soon for renovation into apartments, which has become common among decommissioned schools in South Philadelphia. Just north of Pennsport, the Jefferson Square neighborhood has seen some major housing development near Jefferson Square Park, which is also being slowly renovated, and a new, 16-storey highrise apartment building is soon to be built along the waterfront near there, just south of the Dockside Condominiums. A little to the west of Pennsport, the Passyunk Square neighborhood is experiencing lots of new development, especially along trendy Passyunk Avenue. And, the area is served by mass-transit, including the Route 57 bus that goes to Center City and the large Whitman Plaza Shopping Center on Oregon Avenue (the one with the odd-looking bust of Walt Whitman out front near the sidewalk) and electric buses (buses powered by overhead wires) travel east along Morris Street from the Tasker/Morris subway station on the Broad Street Line and a soon-to-be-built library/health center at Broad and Morris Streets.
Pennsport is a great neighborhood to live in and the renovation of Dickinson Square Park adds a lot more amenities to the neighborhood. Just around the corner from the park, Long & Foster has a listing of a two-bedroom townhouse at 217 Watkins Street. This townhouse has a remodeled kitchen, a finished basement with laundry, and a backyard patio, and is listed for sale for $279,900, a reasonable price in this neighborhood, especially being around the corner from Dickinson Square Park. If you are interested in this listing, and our regular Sunday afternoon open houses there, then you can click on the link above and if you are interested in buying or selling a home or investment property in the city, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my Long & Foster agent portal, here, or our Long & Foster Philly Center office, here. You can, also, check out my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor, and my twitter page, @GabrielGPhilaRE. And, you can follow news in the neighborhood at the website of the Dickinson Square West Civic Association, here, and maybe on the Friends of Dickinson Square website, here (although this site is undergoing maintenance right now). Also, you can look at my many pictures of the park and the neighborhood, below (including a picture of 217 Watkins Street).