Philadelphia Water Works Restoration

On May 25, 2000, the Environmental Professionals Association of the Philadelphia Region (EPAPR), in cooperation with several other local environmental associations, sponsored a breakfast meeting and tour entitled “Fairmount Water Works – Past, Present, and Future.” Mr. Ed Grusheski of the Philadelphia Water Department made a brief presentation on the architectural and engineering history of the Water Works, including the environmental aspects of Philadelphia’s water supply and watersheds.  Over 50 people then participated in a tour of the historic Water Works facilities located on Kelly Drive.

The restoration includes construction of an upscale restaurant in the largest building, known as the Engine House. The decks over the mill buildings will serve as a site for civic events, festivals and other gatherings, and will offer visitors and residents a magnificent view up the river past Boathouse Row.

The ultimate restoration cost of the Water Works will be $25 Million. In the final phase of construction ($10 Million), an additional $2 Million still needs to be raised.  The “Fund for the Water Works” is a project of the Fairmount Park Commission supporting the preservation and restoration of the buildings and landscapes of the Water Works. Tax-deductible donations can be made to “The Fund for the Water Works,” Fairmount Park Commission, Memorial Hall, West Park, P.O. Box 21601, Philadelphia, PA 19131-0901.

For information on EPAPR and our upcoming environmental programs, call Tom Petersen at 215-881-9401.

Update 2004

The Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center (FWWIC) opened its doors in late October 2003 and became Philadelphia’s premeir eco-tourism attraction. The theme of the center is “Water in Our World”. The Center focuses on the history of the site and features an actual working model of the Fairmount Water Works, an historic esplanade, a Water lab and classroom for visiting students and a small theater.  The location of the center is strategically on the bank of the Schuylkill River to allow for several river balconies. For further details on the Center and for information regarding visiting the FWWIC.

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