As executive director of the Delaware River City Corporation, Tom Branigan is overseeing a series of projects that will create an 11-mile trail from Allegheny Avenue to the Poquessing Creek.
The trail is part of a 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway that will start in Maine from the north.
“You’re going to be able to walk to Florida if you want to,” Branigan told members at this month’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Frankford-Northeast Philadelphia.
Former congressman Bob Borski created the Delaware River City Corp. in 2004.
One of the organization’s biggest accomplishments came in 2008, when there was an extension of the trail at Pennypack on the Delaware, a park located just north of Rhawn Street.
Right now, the non-profit DRCC is engaged in the following five projects on the river’s edge:
• Completion of Lardner’s Point Park, between Robbins Avenue and Levick Street.
• Construction of a trail in Port Richmond. Work will start in the fall.
• Construction of the 1.6-mile K&T Trail that will extend north to Princeton Avenue. Work will begin late this year.
• Extension of Delaware Avenue to Bridge Street. The road will be 30 feet wide. Work will start in 2013.
• Construction of Baxter’s Trail, which will include a bridge across Pennypack Creek. The trail will extend to Linden Avenue, making a detour onto Pennypack Street and State Road along the way. Work will start in 2013.
While the DRCC is making progress, private development is being stalled as property owners refuse to move forward with their long-announced plans, blaming the poor economy.
The finishing touches are being put on the 4.5-acre Lardner’s Point Park, just south of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.
“It’s ninety-eight-percent done right now,” said Branigan, who was joined at the April 3 meeting by DRCC office administrator Jim Coughlin.
More than half of the funding for the $1.5 million project came from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Another $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
Other contributors are the city, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Garden Club of America and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
The park will include a soft, fine limestone walking trail; a refurbished fishing pier with a stainless steel railing and a new surface, benches; picnic tables; a large patio; solar-powered lights; trees; a water fountain; and parking.
A Friends of Lardner’s Point Park will be created.
The grounds where the park is being built were once littered with trash, broken glass and construction debris.
“It’s been quite a transformation,” Branigan said.
The work is being done by Sandmeyer Lane-based Seravalli Contractors Inc.
The park dedication is set for Monday, May 14, at 10 a.m.
“You’ll get a chance to stroll along the river,” Branigan said.
The DRCC receives funding from the city, state and federal governments as it seeks to transform a riverfront that was once dominated by industry.
The group hopes businesses decide to locate near the river as trails expand and the riverfront becomes a more popular destination.
The trail will connect at Allegheny Avenue with one being developed by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation. That trail will extend south to Oregon Avenue and west up Spring Garden Street to the Schuylkill River.
Rotary Club members will take part in a DRCC-sponsored cleanup of the three-acre Pleasant Hill Park this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The park is located at Linden Avenue on the banks of the Delaware River.
The DRCC will hold its second annual spring fling on Thursday, May 17, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., at the Delaware River Yacht Club, at 9635 Milnor St. For more information on the fund-raiser, call 215-537-8400, Ext. 136.
The Rotary Club of Frankford-Northeast Philadelphia meets every Tuesday from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. at Cannstatter’s, at 9130 Academy Road. ••EndFragment