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Urban Renewal: Lardner's Point Transformed from Blight to Jewel

Lardner's Point  after restoration Lardner's Point prior to restoration

Move your mouse back and forth over the image to view the "before and after" comparison of Lardner's Point in Philadelphia, Penn.

Urban waterfronts are eyesores in many cities around the nation, often littered with abandoned buildings, debris, and crumbling concrete. That's what Lardner's Point in Philadelphia looked like just a few years ago. This place, once a bustling ferry terminal on the Delaware River during the industrial revolution, had fallen into disrepair over the span of many decades. Then, in 2004, the tanker M/V Athos I struck a submerged anchor near Paulsboro, N.J., releasing over 265,000 gallons of oil into the Delaware. This led to the exposure of more than 280 miles of shoreline—including Lardner's Point—to spilled crude oil.

Lardner's Point

Canada geese on the newly restored shoreline at Lardner's Point on the Delaware River. 

Today, with partial funding from the Athos oil spill settlement, the rubble-strewn shoreline of Lardner's Point is a lively waterfront public park with restored wetlands. Over the past four and a half years, a team of federal, state, and local agencies and partners have transformed this urban landscape into a destination.

"Lardner's Point has been a shining success showing the value of restoring urban waterfronts and working closely with our co-trustees and local partners," says Simeon Hahn of NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration. "By working together to return these shorelines to the people, we can revitalize communities and help them reconnect to their local waterways."

Visitors now can fish from the new pier, relax on the river overlook just south of the iconic Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, picnic at handicap-accessible tables, and use the new multi-use trail for walking, jogging, and bicycling. Even the endangered Eastern red-bellied turtle has been seen visiting the park's restored shoreline wetlands.

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NOAA's Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program collaborates with other agencies, industry, and citizens to protect and restore coastal and marine resources threatened or injured by oil spills, releases of hazardous substances, and vessel groundings.