Month: June 2015

MAYOR NUTTER’S STATEMENT REGARDING POPE FRANCIS’ PHILADELPHIA ITINERARY ANNOUNCEMENT

Philadelphia, June 30, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement regarding the announcement of Pope Francis’ itinerary for his visit to Philadelphia:rnrn“From visiting with inmates and their families at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility to appearances at some of Philadelphia’s most important, recognizable landmarks like Independence Hall and the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Francis will touch the hearts and souls of millions when he visits the City of Philadelphia this September. With the Holy Father’s itinerary now formalized, we will use this schedule to inform our planning, working closely with our partners at all levels of government, the World Meeting of Families and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The City of Philadelphia has a long history of hosting big events; we will be ready to welcome Pope Francis when he arrives.”

Rally Bus to Offer Travel to Philadelphia Papal Visit

Possible Record Day for Bus Travel; Giving Religious Groups New Way to Organizern

Rally Bus, a crowd-powered technology platform that brings people together to enjoy trips to popular destinations and events on high-end buses, today announced that it will be providing extensive transportation services for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia this September for the World Meeting of Families (http://rallybus.net/world-meeting-2015-papal-visit/), which marks his inaugural trip as Pontiff to the U.S. The Papal visit to the city on September 26-27 culminates in the Pope’s celebration of Sunday mass for an estimated two million visitors on Ben Franklin Parkway, one of the largest public gatherings that Philadelphia has ever had.

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“Given the sheer numbers of predicted visitors to Philadelphia and dire warnings of traffic gridlock and congestion from Mayor Nutter and other officials, we are potentially looking at one of the greatest opportunities ever for buses both as a preferred travel option and in terms of overall demand,” says Numaan Akram, founder and CEO of Rally Bus. “In the coming weeks, we will be working closely with local dioceses around the country to get the word out about Rally Bus as an easy, hassle free way to get to and from this historic event.”

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Akram notes that Rally Bus is also offering transportation services for the diocese of Bridgeport, CT to a post-Synod pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on October 24th (http://rallybus.net/postsynodpilgrimage/).

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“Planning our pilgrimage with Rally Bus was easy and stress-free,” says Gina Donnarummo, director of adult formation for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport. “All I had to do was give them locations and dates and Rally Bus handled the rest.”

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Those wishing to book travel should go online to RallyBus.net or download the Rally Bus app for iOS, Android and Windows. Once a reservation is made, the passenger can share trips and invite friends through all social media platforms to help ensure that a sufficient number of reservations are reached, which confirms a bus to be ordered according to Rally Bus’ tipping-point model.

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“What’s interesting is that Rally Bus is providing a whole new way for religious groups to organize and mobilize, using technology as the centerpiece,” adds Akram. “Booking travel through our apps enables a user to self-organize, control their travel options and monitor trip progress, in the company of friends, having fun and bypassing the usual travel headaches.”

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The Papal visit will include stops in New York and Washington, D.C., both of which Rally Bus will support with transportation services.

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Akram notes that each bus-load of Rally Bus passengers takes roughly 30 cars off the road, which alleviates traffic concerns, provides environmental benefits and makes the overall travel experience more fun and enjoyable. Rally Bus has relationships with hundreds of luxury bus operators around the country, which not only helps improve bus utilization rates but can also support local economies through these transportation partnerships.

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About Rally Bus

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Rally Bus (http://rallybus.net) is a crowd-powered, on-demand event travel company that is disrupting the charter bus industry and changing behavior by allowing riders to self-organize bus trips to and from events that enhance and extend the overall travel experience. Founded in 2010 as an alternative means to transport thousands of riders nationwide to the Rally to Restore Sanity event in Washington, D.C, the New York-based company has attracted more than 70,000 riders to a broad array of sports, entertainment and cultural events in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.

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For more information, visit: http://rallybus.net

Parx Racing®, PTHA Announce Creation of New $20 Million Parx Racing® Fall Festival

Reduction in live race days will fund increased purses during a two month-long Fall Festival; Parx to invest $4.4 million in track improvements and beautificationrnrnBENSALEM, Pa., June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Parx Racing® and the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (PTHA) announce the creation of a new, annual $20 Million Parx Racing® Fall Festival that will commence on Saturday, August 29, 2015, and continue through October 20, 2015. By doubling purse levels throughout the two month festival, Parx and the PTHA have created a signature racing meet that will attract top horse racing talent in the industry, increase the field size of the races, enhance betting interest, and draw new fans to the legendary racetrack.rnrnOver the past four years, Parx Racing® and the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (PTHA) have worked to build a Fall Festival around one of the track's signature racing days – the $1 Million Pennsylvania Derby (GII) and Cotillion Stakes (GI) – which last year featured Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome, along with the eventual Breeders' Cup Classic champion Bayern. In addition, last year's Cotillion Stakes was led by Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Untapable. This exciting new initiative will build on that past success by doubling purses for each of the 32 live race days during the new Fall Festival. rnrn"Parx is thrilled to work with the PTHA on this revitalizing plan to enhance our overall live racing product for our owners and trainers as well as racing fans," said Joe Wilson, COO Parx Racing®. "This significant agreement is a reflection of the ongoing commitment of Parx Racing® and the PTHA to offer the highest caliber racing program for our devoted fans. We especially look forward to our new $20 Million Parx Racing® Fall Festival and the great anticipation that will be generated each year leading up to it."rnrnTo help fund the increased purse levels during the Fall Festival, Parx and the PTHA have agreed to reduce the annual number of live racing days to 153. This reduction in live race days will consist of two separate breaks in winter and summer that will include the Christmas holidays through mid-February and three weeks in August beginning in 2016. The track will remain open for training year-round, including the days closed for live racing.rnrnAlso as part of the new agreement, Parx Racing® will invest an additional $4.4 Million in racetrack infrastructure and property improvements to enhance the overall racing experience for everyone associated with the live racing events. Improvements will include installation of a new safety rail, beautification of the track's paddock and Winner's Circle, and a variety of enhancements to the backside including paving and planting of trees between barns.rnrn"The PTHA is excited by the changes to our live racing schedule and the creation of a signature racing meet during the fall at Parx that will attract some of the top national and regional horses and talent," said Salvatore M. DeBunda, President of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. "Doubling purses will improve the competitiveness and caliber of our racing product, make the races more exciting, and increase fan and bettor interest." rnrnFor additional information, kindly contact Pete Peterson, Pa. Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, ppeterson@bellevuepr.com and/or Carrie Nork Minelli, Parx Racing®, cnorkminelli@parxcasino.com.rnrnABOUT PARXrnrnParx Casino®, largest and most impressive gaming complex in Pennsylvania, and Parx Racing®, legendary thoroughbred racetrack, are owned and operated by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc. Conveniently located 20 minutes north of center city Philadelphia, I-95 exit 37 or PA Turnpike exit 351 (westbound), exit 352 (eastbound) onto Street Road in Bensalem, Parx features 164,000 square feet of gaming; 3,300 slot machines; 110 live table games; 80 poker tables; live racing & simulcast action; Parx Grill, an upscale signature restaurant; Foodies food court; Chickie's & Pete's crab house and sports bar; Earl of Sandwich®; 360 bar and live music venue; Jax sports bar; Finish Line bar and complimentary parking for over 5,000 cars. For more information on Parx visit www.parxcasino.com and www.parxracing.com.rnrnAbout the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen AssociationrnrnThe Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen Association (PTHA) is a statewide organization representing owners and trainers at Parx Racetrack and Casino Racetrack in Bensalem, Pa. The PTHA works hard to protect and provide for the horsemen through the guarantee of live racing, increased purses, and health care for its families. Through the efforts of the PTHA and the track management, thoroughbred racing in the state of Pennsylvania has undergone many positive changes and Parx has been recognized throughout the industry as the starting point for stricter medication rules and for its model retirement program for Thoroughbred horses. For more information, visit http://patha.org/.rnrnContact: rnrnCarrie Nork MinellirnParx RacingrnPhone: 215-801-9389rnEmail: CNorkMinelli@parxcasino.comrnrnPete PetersonrnPa. Thoroughbred Horsemen's AssociationrnPhone: (215) 990-8928rnEmail: ppeterson@bellevuepr.comrnrnSOURCE Parx RacingrnrnrnrnRELATED LINKSrnhttp://www.parxracing.com

Lễ Độc lập Hoa Kỳ Là Ngày Câu Cá Miễn Phí Lần Thứ Hai Trong Tiểu bang Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Families and friends visiting Pennsylvania's popular outdoor spots over the July 4 holiday weekend can enjoy a day of free fishing, thanks to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).rnrnIndependence Day – Saturday, July 4 – marks the second of two free fishing days in the Commonwealth. Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone – residents and non-residents – to legally fish in Pennsylvania without a fishing license. From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania's waterways. All other fishing regulations apply.rnrn"Fish-for-Free days are one of the ways that we can introduce friends and families to the sport of fishing," said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. "Lakes and state parks are always popular spots during the summer and particularly on holidays. This is a convenient way for visitors to try fishing for free."rnrn"We know that once people try fishing, particularly kids, they will see that it is a lot of fun and they will want to do it more often," he added. "And this year, anglers who purchase a license will enjoy $1 off."rnrnThe PFBC announced last fall that it was reducing the price of resident, non-resident and senior resident annual licenses by $1 for the entire 2015 season. This is the first time the PFBC has reduced the price of a fishing license. The discount is part of a marketing campaign to highlight fishing's affordability to families and younger audiences and to persuade lapsed anglers to return. It's being promoted under the slogan "Catch the Value!"rnrnTo make the fishing experience more convenient, newcomers to the sport can borrow equipment from dozens of fishing tackle loaner sites across the state.rnrn"We want to encourage individuals to try fishing so we've made it easy by setting up tackle loaner sites," added Laurel Anders, director of the Bureau of Boating and Outreach. "Many of the sites are right at state parks, which are always a popular place for visitors on holidays like July 4th. We also have loaner sites at county parks and some public libraries."rnrnClick here for the list of loaner sites.rnrnThe first Fish-for-Free Day was May 24.rnrnMore information is available on the PFBC website at: www./fishandboat.com/fishforfree.htm. The website includes interactive maps, regional fishing reports, and tips on fishing fundamentals.rnrnRegional Media Contacts – Please contact a regional outreach coordinator for more information and to set up on-the-water interviews with Waterways Conservation Officers.rnrnNorthwest Region (Counties – Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren)rnrnChad Fosterrn(814) 336-2426rnchfoster@pa.govrnrnSouthwest Region (Counties – Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, Westmoreland)rnrnMandy Smithrn(814) 443-9841rnmirsmith@pa.govrnrnNorthcentral and Southcentral Regions (NC Counties – Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, Lycoming, McKean, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Tioga, Union; SC Counties – Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, York)rnrnDee Fisherrn(717) 705-7919rndeafisher@pa.govrnrnNE and SE Regions (NE Counties – Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming; SE Counties – Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill)rnrnWalt Dietzrn(570) 477-2206rnwdietz@pa.govrnrnHarrisburg contact: Eric Levis, Press Secretaryrn(717) 705-7806 or elevis@pa.govrnrn rnrnSOURCE Pennsylvania Fish & Boat CommissionrnrnrnrnRELATED LINKSrnhttp://www.fishandboat.com

PHILADELPHIA FREE SUMMER MEAL SITES BEGIN OPERATION FOR SUMMER 2015

Philadelphia, June 23, 2015 – About 800 sites across the City of Philadelphia have begun distributing free, nutritious meals to thousands of youth as part of the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option. These USDA programs provide meals and snacks served at a variety of locations throughout the city, including churches, summer camps, and recreation centers.rnrn rnrn“The free summer meals program, which started yesterday, provides vital nourishment to young people and their caregivers in our city, ensuring a healthy, fun, and productive time for all,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Summer is a critical time of growth and exploration for youth, and healthy meals give children and teens the energy and focus they need to stay physically active, engage in summertime programming, and keep learning during the break from school.”rnrn rnrnBetween now and labor day, youth 18 and under, as well as individuals with disabilities 19 and older who are enrolled in a school program, can access free meals at meal sites throughout Philadelphia. To find an open summer meal location, individuals can text “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877877, call the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger at 1-855-252-6325, or visit www.phillysummermeals.org.rnrn rnrnMeal sites in Philadelphia are sponsored and supported by a coalition of partners coordinated by the Mayor’s Office, including the Department of Parks and Recreation, Nutritional Development Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Congregation Beth Solomon, the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, the Department of Public Health, and many others. The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation oversees the largest number of meal sites of any sponsor in the city, with most of its meal sites participating in the Playstreet program. Playstreet meal sites are city blocks in neighborhoods that are shut down to traffic for part of the day to allow for free play.rnrnThe free summer meals program is coordinated in partnership with Fun Safe Philly Summer, the Mayor’s initiative to connect youth throughout Philadelphia with free and low-cost opportunities for summer engagement. Individuals interested in learning more about the summer meals program or operating a summer meals site, as well as people looking to connect young people with free and low-cost summer programs, can visit www.funsafephillysummer.com or call 215-686-2175.

Philadelphia Rocks The Fourth With 48 Hours Of Fun

June 18 2015rnrnNational LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration Adds Rainbow Colors To Red, White & Blue Festivitiesrn

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rnFourth of July ParadernrnAs the calendar zooms towards Independence Day, Philadelphia, where the nation was born 239 years ago, revs up for a full week of flag-waving, heart-swelling, hand-clapping, patriotic fun. The annual Wawa Welcome America! celebration lasts for an entire week, and come Friday, July 3, the revelry really picks up with 48 hours of fun. That means patriotic ceremonies, parades, concerts, fireworks and festivities that mark the 50th anniversary of a protest demonstration that laid the groundwork for LGBT civil rights. Here’s a look at what’s happening on July 3 and 4:rnrnJuly 3:rnrnVisitors are free to celebrate at the Liberty Block Party, the largest block party of the summer. Some of the most historic streets in the city will be packed with revelers nibbling treats from local restaurants and jamming to live entertainment. On 5th & 6th Streets between Market & Chestnut Streets, welcomeamerica.comrnThe BYOB (bring-our-own-blanket) POPS! On Independence concert has become a traditional holiday favorite and for good reason. The combination of The Philly Pops under the baton of Michael Krajewski, a lively score of family-friendly tunes and the dramatic backdrop of Independence Hall creates a perfect setting for a night of music under the stars. 6th & Chestnut Streets, welcomeamerica.comrnWith Dumblonde’s Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex handling hosting duties and a musical lineup headlined by GoGo Morrow, Ferras, America’s Got Talent’s Jonathan Allen and others, the LGBT Civil Rights Movement 50th Anniversary Concert features a night of dancing and entertainment. A who’s who of drag performers, including Adore Delano, Mimi Imfurst, Satine Harlow, Ariel Versace and others, add glitz and glam to this evening of fun. Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (800) 745-3000, ticketmaster.comrnJuly 4:rnrnInspiring remarks, music and a reading from the Declaration of Independence kick off the Independence Day festivities at Independence Hall. This year’s Celebration of Freedom Ceremony commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first major LGBT protest in the United States, the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 50th anniversary of the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965 and the 150th anniversary of the addition of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A naturalization ceremony for new American citizens is also on the agenda. 6th & Chestnut Streets, welcomeamerica.comrnPatriotic pageantry is on display when more than 6,000 participants from across the nation hit the streets for the Independence Day Parade. Marching bands, floats, military groups, Miss America and special performance teams will be waving the red, white and blue during this hometown-style parade. The parade steps off at 5th and Chestnut Streets and ends at Front and Chestnut Streets. welcomeamerica.comrnDescendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence lead a ceremonial tapping of the Liberty Bell during this program hosted by the Sons of the American Revolution. Liberty Bell Center, 6th & Market Streets, welcomeamerica.comrnA star-studded line-up awaits at the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration. Comedian Wanda Sykes will emcee the tribute to gay pioneers in a program that features performances by the Washington, New York and Philadelphia gay choruses, Jonathan Allen and Gogo Morrow, Bishop Gene Robinson, Judy Shepard, James Obergefell, Edith Windsor and others. Between 5th & 6th Streets and Market & Chestnut Streets, lgbt50.orgrnThe day-long Party on the Parkway features blocks of games, food and live entertainment on two stages. Pogopalooza, the world championship of extreme pogo, and the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Road to Rio Tour will be among the activities that make this a festive frolic. 20th Street to Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, welcomeamerica.comrnAs the sun goes down, the lights go up for the Philly 4th of July Jam concert and fireworks grand finale. Hometown musical group The Roots serve as headliners and are joined by Miguel, Jennifer Nettles and others. Then all eyes turn to the skies for a dazzling fireworks display over the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 26th Street & the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, welcomeamerica.com rn rnVISIT PHILADELPHIA® makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.rnrnOn Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.rnrnContact(s):rnDonna Schorr, (215) 599-0782

It’s The Year Of Urban Public Spaces In Philadelphia

Jun 15 2015rnrnReclaimed Outdoor Spaces Invigorate The City & Offer Modern Opportunities For Leisurern

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rnSpruce Street Harbor ParkrnrnIn The New York Times' influential “52 Places To Go In 2015” article, writer Nell McShane Wulfhart calls Philadelphia “an urban outdoor oasis,” attributing the city’s transformation to places like Dilworth Park, Race Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park and Bike Share. And what an urban oasis it is.rnrnPhiladelphia’s residents and visitors are heading outdoors in huge numbers thanks to the activation of many under-utilized spaces in recent years. Lively urban parks, reimagined recreational landscapes and spirited pop-up gardens have taken over once-overlooked patches of land and water. These transformations have the city’s civic planners reclaiming inactive riverbanks, surplus lots and forlorn rail lines while stimulating a fun and festive sense of community pride.rnrnMuch of the action can be spotted in Center City and on Philadelphia’s two rivers: the quiet, beautiful Schuylkill to the west and the shipping waterway of the Delaware 30 blocks to the east. In between the two rivers, picturesque parks and lively beer gardens now live in once-abandoned parcels of land.rnrnDelaware River:rnThe Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) is spearheading much of the development along the city’s eastern waterfront. As cities worldwide find new ways to bring activity to post-industrial ports and piers, the organization moves ahead with a master development plan that creates appealing public destinations every half-mile and truly connects the city to its waterfront from north to south:rnrnDelaware River Trail: The first 1,400-foot-long portion of the riverfront trail is now open for cyclists and walkers from Spring Garden Street to Ellen Street. Now, the DWRC is turning its attention to the next two phases: replacing the southern portion of the trail that currently runs between Washington Avenue and Pier 70 Boulevard and cutting the ribbon on the SugarHouse Casino portion, which will link the existing part of the Riverfront trail at Ellen Street to the casino’s current bike path. The trail forms part of the East Coast Greenway and will link to a planned river-to-river bike path. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the William Penn Foundation funded this project. (215) 629-3200, delawareriverwaterfront.comrnRace Street Pier: Located in the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the first project in DRWC’s master plan for the Central Delaware River opened in 2011 and features two levels for recreation. The upper terrace, dubbed the Grand Sky Promenade, rises 12 feet toward the bridge and is paved with Trex, a sustainable, synthetic decking material made out of reclaimed plastic and wood. The promenade is connected to the lower terrace by a multi-tiered seating area, perfect for watching the tide roll in. The DRWC conducts free yoga classes seven days a week in season. Major funding came from the William Penn Foundation. Columbus Boulevard & Race Street, (215) 629-3200, racestreetpier.comrnWaterfront Winterfest: In 2013, DRWC got people buzzing with the first installment of its Waterfront Winterfest, a seasonal garden and village featuring ice-skating at the Blue Cross RiverRink, shops, music, food and fire pits. Year two of Waterfront Winterfest featured an even cozier lodge experience, upscale food, fireplaces, fire pits, a new light show and more activities in and outside of the lodge. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 925-RINK, waterfrontwinterfest.comrnSpruce Street Harbor Park: DRWC followed up Waterfront Winterfest with the wildly popular Spruce Street Harbor Park. This year’s edition of the summertime pop-up implements the successful elements of the 2014 edition, like the hammocks and floating barges, with additional food vendors and other elements to make the park even better and more successful. For its first year, Spruce Street Harbor received a $310,000 ArtPlace America grant. Open through September 27, 2015. Columbus Boulevard & Spruce Street, (215) 629-3200, sprucestreetharborpark.comrnWashington Avenue Pier: Following the enthusiastic reception of the permanent Race Street Pier, DRWC debuted Washington Avenue Pier in 2014. Visitors can climb a beacon created by artist Jody Pinto, take in river views from an elevated boardwalk and follow markers that relate the site’s history as a major immigration hub and the nation’s first navy yard. The William Penn Foundation, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and DRWC provided the $2.15 million in funding for this project. Columbus Boulevard & Washington Avenue, (215) 629-3200, delawareriverwaterfront.comrnBlue Cross RiverRink Summerfest: Capitalizing on the success of Winterfest, DRWC launched a warm-weather version of its riverside rink and gathering place. The centerpiece of the summer edition is an outdoor roller-skating rink, which is located next to an air-conditioned lodge outfitted with rocking chairs for comfy people-watching, eating and drinking. The outdoor village also features misting towers and rock-climbing. Discounts for rink admission are offered to Blue Cross subscribers. Open through September 27, 2015. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 925-RINK, delawareriverwaterfront.comrnPier 68: On Pier 68, scheduled to open in mid-2015, recreational anglers and recreation-seekers can fish, relax, bring picnics and observe the tidal nature of the Delaware River from up close. The $1.7 million in funding for this project came from the William Penn Foundation, the City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wells Fargo and Walmart. Columbus Boulevard & Pier 70 Boulevard, delawareriverwaterfront.comrnSchuylkill River:rnLong a labor of love for citizens who live in the western part of Center City, the Schuylkill River Trail, overseen by the Schuylkill River Trail Council, is beginning to connect the lower part of the river to trails that wind through Manayunk all the way to Valley Forge and beyond.rnrnSchuylkill River Trail: The paved riverfront trail that currently runs from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Schuylkill River Park and its popular dog park is about to get even longer. A new segment, planned for construction in late 2015, will allow runners, bikers, bladers and outdoor types to cruise along the river from Christian Street to Kelly Drive and beyond, passing the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Water Works Restaurant & Lounge, Paine’s Park skateboard park, Lloyd Hall and bike and Segway rentals near Boathouse Row. Also under construction beginning in 2015: Bartram’s Mile, a new greenway that will soon expand riverfront access in Southwest Philadelphia from Grays Ferry Avenue to 56th Street. Future plans for the trail include repurposing an abandoned historic railroad crossing just south of Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge, connecting the Grays Ferry Crescent and Bartram’s Mile. (215) 222-6030, schuylkillbanks.orgrnSchuylkill Banks Boardwalk: Philadelphia now has its own permanent boardwalk in the form of a 15-foot-wide, 2,000-foot-long, ADA-compliant concrete path that juts out above the Schuylkill River. Part of the Schuylkill Banks trail, it provides runners, bikers and pedestrians with a trail connection between Locust Street and the South Street Bridge. Those who want to take in the scenery can do so at any of the four overlooks offering city and waterfront views. The boardwalk opened to rave reviews in fall 2014 and was funded principally by federal and city funding. Schuylkill River (near 25th Street) at Locust Street, (215) 222-6030, schuylkillbanks.orgrnVenice Island: The Philadelphia Water Department partnered with Parks & Recreation and residents of Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood to turn a municipal project into an island-size children’s attraction. Here’s how it happened: The utility built a four million-gallon underground water tank and a pumping station with a green roof. On top of the tank went a 250-seat performing arts center devoted primarily to kids’ theater, an outdoor amphitheater, basketball and volleyball courts, a “sprayground” water feature and lots of park space with stunning sunrise and sunset water views. The water department paid for construction, and the parks department operates the recreational attractions. Main & Cotton Streets, (215) 482-9565, manayunk.com/dsr/veniceisland.htmlrnCenter City:rnCenter City District is spearheading much of the park work in the core of the city, with solid contributions from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, to ensure that recreational opportunities abound in parks and pockets all over downtown Philly.rnrnDilworth Park: In September 2014, City Hall’s front yard went from a concrete jungle to a $55 million multi-use park, complete with tree groves, benches, a Cuban-themed cafe and areas for outdoor events and performances. A programmable fountain offers children a place to romp and splash in warm-weather months. During the winter, an ice rink brings skaters to the promenade. Sloping glass headhouses lead to the major transit hub below the park. Donors include the U.S, Department of Transportation, Center City District, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, City of Philadelphia and SEPTA, as well as private foundations, businesses and individuals. 15th & Market Streets, (215) 482-9565, dilworthpark.orgrnSister Cities Park: Moms bring their strollers for free fitness classes (with singing) and music lovers bring their own bottles for picnics and performances at the landscaped urban oasis. For less organized fun, the park features a cafe, an eco-smart visitor center, an outdoor children’s discovery garden and play area, a boat pond, a pint-sized hill that evokes the Wissahickon Valley and a fountain that pays tribute to Philadelphia’s 10 sister cities. Center City District maintains and programs the park, which was rehabbed with help from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the William Penn Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 440-5500, sistercitiespark.orgrnThe Oval: Ben Franklin surely would have appreciated this pop-up park, which in the warm months occupies Eakins Oval, a little-used parking lot on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Themed days and nights spotlight food and fashion trucks, movies, a beer garden, free health and fitness classes and an art installation commissioned by the Mural Arts Program. The park, open for its third year in 2015, was imagined and executed by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and presented by PNC. 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, theovalphl.orgrnPHS Pop Up Garden: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is bringing two versions of its popular greening projects (called “horticultural interventions” by staffers) to underused lots in 2015. The South Street Pop Up returns with a new design that romances the garden, while the first-time East Passyunk location transforms a vacant lot into an urban garden of sustainable practices and repurposed materials. Both feature curated food and beer menus, with proceeds supporting PHS programs such as City Harvest, which brings together a network of community gardeners who raise fresh, healthy food for 1,200 families in need each week. Open through October 1, 2015. 15th & South Streets, 9th & Wharton Streets, (215) 988-8800, phsonline.orgrnReading Viaduct Rail Park: Work could begin as soon as 2016 to transform a quarter-mile section of an abandoned elevated rail line in to a leafy green space with flowering plants and plenty of room to walk, sit and admire the Center City view from the raised rails. With help from the William Penn Foundation and the Poor Richard’s Charitable Trust, Center City District has completed the community-approved design for a portion of the viaduct and is currently raising money to begin renovations. Vine Street between Callowhill & Noble Streets, centercityphila.orgrnCenter City & Beyond:rnrnBike Share: Pedal power hit Philadelphia in April 2015 with the launch of Indego, the city’s bike-share program named for sponsor Independence Blue Cross. Cyclists can rent 600 bikes located at 65 stations throughout Center City and beyond. They can pay for Indego passes by the month or by the trip. rideindego.comrnFrankford Pause: Looking like a set out of a futuristic Hairspray, this neon-pink permanent park is slated to open in fall 2015. Commissioned by the Frankford Community Development Corporation as a place to fuse art and public activity, the park displays magenta lights that grow brighter when the SEPTA train pulls into the adjacent station and dim as it leaves. A community garden and stage also anchor the megaphone-shaped space. Frankford Avenue & Paul Street, destinationfrankford.com/frankford-pausernVISIT PHILADELPHIA® makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.rnrnOn Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.rnrnContact(s):rnDonna Schorr, (215) 599-0782