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PHILADELPHIA-Center City District has broken ground on the renovation of Aviator Park, which occupies the western section of Logan Square on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The $1.5-million project is financed with a combination of federal transportation enhancement funds and Congressional earmark funds, provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Paul Levy, CCD president, called Aviator Park Logan Square’s “front yard” to the area museums. The project “is a continuation of the CCD’s ongoing commitment to make Benjamin Franklin Parkway a walkable and animated destination and family-friendly place to relax,” he said.

Locally based urban design firm Brown & Keener Bressi and landscape architects Lager Raabe Skafte, also based in Philadelphia, lead the project team. The design provides more open space at the center of the park and adds new walkways and “gateway piers” to mark park entrances while enhancing views of the parkway’s outdoor art. It also includes an irrigation system to eliminate the need for watering crews. A next phase could include a cafe and information center, Levy said.

Logan Square is located about midway along the stretch of the parkway that reaches from city hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The corridor includes the Rodin Museum, Free Public Library and Franklin Institute and will be home to the Barnes Foundation and, potentially, a Calder Museum, which is currently in dispute. Alexander Calder’s father created the sculptures in Logan Square’s Swann fountain and his grandfather created the bronze statue of William Penn that tops city hall.

Logan is one of five open squares in William Penn’s original design for the city. Penn Square, which surrounds city hall, is at the center. Logan occupies the northwest quadrant with Franklin, Washington and Rittenhouse squares at the northeast, southeast and southwest quadrants, respectively.

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