Northeast Times

Get the bulldozers ready!

Work is about to be­gin on con­struc­tion of a 4.5-acre park near the Ta­cony-Palmyra Bridge.

Private de­vel­op­ment along the North Delaware River wa­ter­front re­mains stalled be­cause of eco­nom­ic con­di­tions, but the Delaware River City Cor­por­a­tion con­tin­ues to make pro­gress.

The DRCC last week broke ground on a $1.5 mil­lion pro­ject to cre­ate a river­front park on 4.5 acres im­me­di­ately south of the Ta­cony Palmyra Bridge.

The park is just east of the Phil­adelphia Wa­ter De­part­ment’s his­tor­ic Lard­ner’s Point Wa­ter Pump­ing Sta­tion, at Mil­nor and Levick streets. It was built in 1906.

More than half of the money will come from the state De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Nat­ur­al Re­sources. Oth­er con­trib­ut­ors in­clude the Na­tion­al Fish and Wild­life Found­a­tion, the city of Phil­adelphia, the Delaware Val­ley Re­gion­al Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and the Garden Club of Amer­ica.

In ad­di­tion, $416,000 came from claims that fol­lowed the spill­ing of 265,000 gal­lons of crude oil in­to the Delaware River by the Athos I tanker in 2004.

“Good things come to those who wait,” said Bob Bor­ski, a former con­gress­man and chair­man of the DRCC, a non-profit or­gan­iz­a­tion formed in ‘04.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz last year helped pre­serve the pro­ject’s state fund­ing when she suc­cess­fully lob­bied the Na­tion­al Pol­lu­tion Funds Cen­ter to re­lease money for the park.

Tom Branigan, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the DRCC, ex­plained that Lard­ner’s Point Park will ex­tend from Levick Street to Rob­bins Street. He be­lieves the park will be an im­port­ant part of a planned 11-mile trail from Al­legheny Av­en­ue in Port Rich­mond to the Bucks County line.

The park will in­clude an as­phalt walk­ing trail loop and a re­hab­il­it­ated river out­look and fish­ing pier with a stain­less steel rail­ing. There will be a wa­ter foun­tain, fur­niture, in­ter­pret­ive sig­nage, sol­ar light­ing and an area for pic­nick­ing and pass­ive re­cre­ation­al activ­it­ies.

Park­ing will be avail­able and new trees will be planted. “It will cre­ate a hab­it­at for birds,” Branigan said.

Work should be com­pleted by the end of April. Seravalli Con­tract­ors Inc. is per­form­ing the work.

John Giord­ano, a Phil­adelphi­an and deputy sec­ret­ary of the DCNR, rep­res­en­ted Gov. Tom Corbett and Sec­ret­ary Richard J. Al­lan. He is ex­cited about the park be­ing along what he calls “the rap­idly re­bound­ing Delaware River.”

“Its re­bound draws the boat­er and angler. Its shores are ap­peal­ing to the hiker and biker,” he said.

Oth­ers at the Nov. 21 ground­break­ing in­cluded state Rep. John Taylor, Phil­adelphia De­part­ment of Parks and Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion­er Mike DiB­er­ardinis and City Coun­cil­man-elect Bobby Hen­on.

Taylor re­calls grow­ing up near B Street and Al­legheny Av­en­ue and be­ing able to head east to ac­cess the Delaware River. He’s glad that the pub­lic will soon be able to ac­cess the new park.

“It’s a great, im­port­ant pro­ject,” he said.

Hen­on de­scribed the river as a “hid­den jew­el.”

DiB­er­ardinis, former sec­ret­ary of the DCNR, be­lieves the city can be­gin to re­define it­self by adding park acre­age to re­place idle in­dus­tri­al in­fra­struc­ture.

The parks and re­cre­ation com­mis­sion­er said the city sup­ports pro­jects that im­prove com­munit­ies, In this case, he be­lieves Lard­ner’s Point Park will en­hance the Ta­cony/Wissi­nom­ing area.

“This works for the neigh­bor­hood,” he said. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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