Centennial District

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Memorial Hall in West Fairmount Park.

Centennial District

In 2005, The Fairmount Park Conservancy funded the creation of the Centennial District Master Plan through the generous support of the William Penn Foundation and the Lenfest Foundation. The 20-year plan has a scheduled end-date of 2026 which is targeted to coincide with the 250th anniversary of American Independence.

  • In 1876, a massive international exhibition – the Centennial Exhibition – was staged in the newly formed Fairmount Park in honor of the 100th birthday of the United States. The event hosted nearly 10 million visitors, or 20 percent of the U.S. population at that time.
  • The Centennial District Master Plan envisioned the transformation and revitalization of the area from the Please Touch Museum to the Philadelphia Zoo to the Mann Center for Performing Arts including proposals for land use, transportation, signage and community development. The Master Plan also examined the connections of the Centennial District to the surrounding neighborhoods and to the larger city and region beyond.
  • In 2012, with the support of the William Penn Foundation, the Conservancy commissioned Studio|Bryan Hanes to develop a community-driven plan for a new recreation/play space along the Parkside Avenue edge of West Fairmount Park that will provide new amenities and better access to the park for the neighborhood residents.
  • In 2014, the Conservancy received additional funding from the William Penn Foundation to design and implement the new park, known as “Centennial Commons”. The new park will include an area of exploratory play for children ages five to 12, an area for older children, and a ‘Neighborhood Edge’ of the park along Parkside Avenue that will draw residents and visitors into the park, offering passive, inviting recreation space. The project will break ground in spring 2016.
  • The design and implementation of Centennial Commons represents a long-awaited revitalization of the Centennial District and positive investment in the East and West Parkside communities.


 To view the the Centennial District executive summary please click here.