Kristie Landry probably didn’t see herself as a crime fighter when she signed up for the Fishtown Neighbors Association’s Beautification Committee. But that was exactly the role she found herself in last month as she and another volunteer helped the cops nab two men dumping tires in a notoriously polluted lot along the Delaware River.
Landry retold the story at last week’s FNA meeting, held Oct. 20 at the Fishtown Recreation Center.
Landry said the arrests came while members of the FNA committee were tending to the problem lot, located on Beach Street just north of Penn Treaty Park, on Sept. 30. The lot, she said, is a weedy, tire-strewn problem that nags the community both as an eyesore and fire hazard.
In fact, the fire department had to stop a tire fire there on Oct. 9 that filled the neighborhood with thick black smoke.
“It’s amazing. There are thousands of tires from our streets out to the water,” she told the audience. “While we were there, these guys came by and were arrested by police.”
Landry said a white panel van showed up at the lot and, when asked, the two men — Michael Rutling, 20, and Ralph Grandy, 55, as reported the Daily News — told police they were collecting good tires to sell at a garage.
“Yeah, I’m sure,” she scoffed.
The men were later arrested and charged with illegal dumping.
The lot is owned by Glasgow Inc., a Glenside, Pa., based construction company.
Landry said the committee is planning further cleanups to deal with the problem of lot and other local sites that have become dumpsites for old tires.
Marian Hull, planning group leader for PennDOT also addressed the meeting, leading a short discussion on the sound walls that could come to the neighborhood if residents want them.
The walls are designed to shield the community from the noise of traffic along I-95, and she said there is a wide variety of options for types of walls available to the neighborhood.
One option she said PennDOT is exploring is clear walls to allow a better view of the river.
“It’s loud out there already, and it’s going to stay loud,” she said. “But, a couple areas will get quieter.”
But, she wasn’t ready to present plans or possible choices for the types of walls the community might see along I-95.
That’s a discussion for next year.
This year, “we are just trying to make a decision on whether there are going to be walls,” she said.
For more information on the project or to give your opinion on the sound walls, visit http://www.95sustain.com/GIR/get-involved/give-us-your-opinion.aspx.
Also, Liz Haegele of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society told residents that, thanks to an investment from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, Pennvest, the neighborhood will be getting new trees.
The Fishtown Recreation Center alone is set to receive 18 trees, which will be tended by the city for two growing seasons before they will need to be tended by neighbors.
There will be a tree-planting event on Nov. 20 held through the horticultural society and TreeVitalize. The PHS is seeking volunteers. For more information, visit the PHS’s Web site at www.pennhort.net.
Finally, next month’s meeting will include voting for the FNA Board members.
Reporter Hayden Mitman can be reached at 215-354-3124 or firstname.lastname@example.org