City celebrates grand reopening of iconic LOVE Park

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City celebrates grand reopening of iconic LOVE Park: John Rawlins reports during Action News at 4pm on May 30, 2018. (WPVI)

Philadelphia's iconic LOVE Park is all new and on Wednesday, the redesigned space in Center City opened for visitors with a big celebration.

Mayor Jim Kenney was on hand Wednesday to officially open and dedicate the newly-redesigned park.

Action News anchor Rick Williams was the emcee for the ribbon cutting event at 15th Street and JFK Boulevard.

It was a two year, $26 million dollar rebuild of the 2.3-acre space.

A 30-foot waterjet still dominates, but it been liberated from a basin and smaller splash fountains have been added.

Gone are steps and walls, which have been replaced by a gently sloping hardscape. There is also a new lawn, flower gardens and dining tables. Food trucks will also be returning later this summer as well as line dancing, Tai Chi and yoga. Every other Wednesday, you'll even be able to get married in the park right in front of the famous LOVE sculpture.

"The love has just begun today and we can't wait to see it unfold in the future," said Kathryn Ott Lovell, from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

Earlier this year critics took to social media decrying the new design as sterile, lacking seating, and shade. But today, the Park's architect, Mary Margaret Jones, said people need to be patient.

"There will be plenty of shade. We planted more trees than existed here before. They do need to grow but you will see over at Dillworth how fast they grow," said Jones.

But those taking in the sights of the new park seemed to love the new LOVE Park.

"I walk through it every morning to get to work. It's much more open now, I feel," said Kelly Cush from Northeast Philadelphia.

"I really like the openness. I really like how everything is all open, I really like the green space in here," said James Williams from South Philadelphia.

The park's public restrooms will open later in the fall and the city's beloved Christmas Village will be back in November.

The welcome center at 16th Street and JFK Boulevardwill also be transformed into a new dining venue, slated to open in Spring 2019.

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