City officials in Philadelphia are planning to reunite the long-divided Chinatown neighborhood by implementing “The Chinatown Stitch” project.
About the project: On Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s office along with the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) and PennDOT unveiled the design plan, which involves capping two and a half blocks between 10th and 13th streets along the Vine Street Expressway.
“We intend this to be not just another project, but a core part of this neighborhood and our city’s legacy of righting past injustices,” said Mike Carroll, the deputy managing director of the Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, according to CBS News.
Carroll explained that the Vine Street Expressway had disrupted the neighborhood with demolitions and resident displacement during its construction. The new initiative aims to mend the disconnected parts of Chinatown by creating an inviting green space and implementing safe street designs, prioritizing the well-being of the elderly, young and individuals with disabilities.
Support from the community: The plan reportedly received support from the community, with residents expressing hope for positive change. The project will undergo 14 months of planning and development, and city leaders are seeking federal funding for its estimated $160 million cost. Preliminary design and engineering are projected to occur over the next few years. If successful, construction could commence in 2027.
“As Philadelphia’s only neighborhood without a public greenspace within its borders, the Chinatown community is overdue for an upgrade in the form of park and gathering space,” Councilmember Mark Squilla said, according to NBC Philadelphia. “Our City’s Chinatown community is special and we hope to see it thrive for years to come with the Chinatown Stitch being a point of great pride.”
Other plans: The announcement comes amid separate discussions about a proposed Philadelphia 76ers arena near Chinatown, with stakeholders awaiting the city’s impact report on that project. Last July, the arena proposal was immediately met with fierce criticism from the members of Chinatown, who are worried about limited parking, traffic congestion, gentrification, displacement and the loss of Chinese culture in the area. Despite concerns, officials emphasize that “The Chinatown Stitch” and the arena development are unrelated.