The Historical Society of Tacony on Saturday afternoon celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Christa Lewis Memorial Arboretum by adding three stones. The stones memorialized four former Tacony residents: Rita (Mace) D’Andrea, Tony Rocco, John “Brat” Kroger and Peggie Hibner.
In all, there are 30 stones in the arboretum, which is located in Disston Park and stretches along Keystone Street from Disston Street to Princeton Avenue.
The arboretum is named in memory of Christa Lewis, a 16-year-old St. Hubert High School honor student stabbed to death at a carnival at Russo Park in 1996.
The Rev. Arthur Johnson Jr., longtime pastor of Tacony Baptist Church, led the crowd in prayer and the singing of How Great Thou Art and Because He Lives. A bagpiper also performed.
State Rep. Mike McGeehan offered remarks as did relatives of the individuals memorialized with the new stones, which are in front of trees and planting areas.
The arboretum features stones sponsored by families of everyday Tacony citizens who have died. There are also stones for Gary Skerski, the community relations officer in the 15th Police District who was shot to death in 2006; victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001; Our Lady of Consolation School; and Tacony Mayfair Sons of Italy Lodge 447.
Plans for 2013 include restoration of broken fencing along Princeton Avenue and Keystone Street, removal of overgrowth along the railroad side north of Tyson Avenue, new signage near Princeton Avenue and discussions about upgrades to the basketball courts and benches. ••