Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Eastwick Community Partners with John Heinz NWR to Preserve Green Space - Stand Up for Eastwick on October 9

In Spring 2012, the Friends of Heinz Refuge joined with Eastwick residents in southwest Philadelphia to form the Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition.  This unprecendented partnership of community stake holders came together in response to a high-density apartment construction proposal threatening 128 acres of green space adjacent to Heinz Refuge - one of the largest tracts of open land in Philadelphia still available for development.  The Korman Company has proposed to build 722 rental apartment units with 1,034 parking spaces on 35 acres; the fate of the remaining 93 acres is hinged on this project, as the result of a 2006 settlement agreement between Korman and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA).  

The community commitment to opposing this development and preserving Eastwick's environmental resources reflects tremendous resilience amidst historical hardship and injustice.  In the 1950's, the PRA seized 2500 acres, including these lands, by condemnation and eminent domain. 10,000 residents were displaced from one of the most peacefully-integrated, culturally-diverse urban communities in the country.  Residents resettled elsewhere while new homes were built by Korman on swamps filled in by silt, cinder and river dredge spoils.  Homes have subsided due to unstable foundations, and residents endure significant, consistent flooding.  Additionally, Eastwick is home to the Clearview Landfill, a yet-unremediated superfund site which operated for two decades through the 1970's, emitting unknown quantities of toxic contaminants into Darby Creek and adjacent lands. 

The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition is committed to advocating for environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future for Eastwick, preserving maximum contiguous green space within the 128-acre parcel.  Korman's development proposal lacks community input, sustainability, innovation and stormwater management plans.  It is inconsistent with Philadelphia's progressive initiatives promoting smart green development, sustainability, and naturally-based stormwater management techniques.  A development of this magnitude would severely undermine Heinz Refuge ability to mitigate flooding, absorb ground pollutants, enhance clean air, and protect natural resources. 

The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition, with broad support from John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Audubon PA, Sierra Club, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Clean Air Council and others, urges all supporters to Stand Up for Eastwick, and attend a critically-important City Council Hearing on Tuesday, October 9, at 10 AM, in 4th floor Philadelphia City Hall.  Your presence will show city officials the importance of green space in our city, for the health of Eastwick residents as well as our entire city.  For more information, check website:  www.eastwickfriends.wordpress.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment