Plans to Reconnect Philadelphia’s Chinatown by Constructing a Park Over a Highway

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — After years of separation caused by a sunken expressway, Philadelphia’s Chinatown is poised for reconnection, as announced by city officials and federal lawmakers on Monday. They have secured a $159 million grant to construct a park spanning the six lanes of the Vine Street Expressway, made possible by President Joe Biden’s 2021 infrastructure law.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey expressed his satisfaction at a neighborhood news conference, heralding the grant as a significant step towards revitalizing Chinatown, which has long suffered from the division wrought by the expressway’s construction in 1991, despite community protests.

This initiative, known as the Chinatown Stitch, arrives amidst ongoing efforts to combat a proposed major development project: the construction of a new arena for the Philadelphia 76ers, located nearby.

John Chin, executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp., lauded the grant as a transformative opportunity for the community, emphasizing its potential to eliminate the physical division caused by the expressway. He expressed his awe at the grant’s approval, highlighting its promise to create much-needed greenspace and community amenities.

Construction is slated to commence in 2027, marking a significant milestone in the effort to mend communities severed by transportation projects. Officials stressed that this project’s fruition was independent of the arena proposal, affirming its primary goal of repairing the damage inflicted on Chinatown.

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