The Lower Schuylkill is hard to get to know much less love. It’s a nearly 4,000-acre area comprised of largely industrial and underused property, wrapped with tricky rail and road crossings, and there are precious few places to get close to the Schuylkill itself.
But there is renewed interest in this part of Southwest Philadelphia as the city considers what kind of industrial development could be added in the coming decades. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and Planning Commission, and Commerce Department are jointly developing a Master Plan for the Lower Schuylkill geared at creating new economic, industrial, and recreational opportunities.
The Lower Schuylkill has the city’s largest concentration of industrially zoned properties and is near two of the city’s biggest economic hubs: the Navy Yard and University City. Among the big planning questions: How can the city help position the Lower Schuylkill as a 21st century economic engine? Are there opportunities to reclaim underused parcels and river frontage for new recreation trails and amenities?
All of this Lower Schuylkill talk got me wondering: What’s actually there? I went looking.