Spring Garden Civic Meeting - 3/15/12
Thursday March 15, 2012
St. Andrew’s Lithuanian Church Hall
(On N. 19th St. between North St. and Wallace St.)
Speaker: John Dougherty
I wasn't able to attend tonight. Anyone go? I'm curious what was said about more N. Broad developments. Was the Divine Lorraine commented upon? Thanks!
Yes, I went to the meeting. The featured speaker was John Dougherty of the Electrician's Union. He presented a rambling memoire of his interractions with Spring Garden and other community associations which was very politely received. He mentioned several areas of development, focused on N. Broad, including the Divine Lorraine. According to him there is activity behind the scenes. As I said, he rambled and segued like crazy, so I can't even remember the specifics. Perhaps others less stunned by the style and more attentive to the content can comment?
Rob (President? No intro that I heard) talked about the Spring Garden St. Greenway project, which is moving forward in cooperation with the water department and PennDOT. There is a plan to install large tanks to store storm runoff to prevent rapid storm runoff from overtaxing the sewer system. These large tanks, presumably under the street, would then slowly release water into the sewers. This is part of the Water Department's initiative to reduce wastewater and toxic runoff. On the surface, it sounds like there is a plan to route the bike path down the center, on the median rather than in the roadway, and to have bump-outs at the corners. Not sure how viable that sounds, but no plan was presented, only a brief update by Rob.
He then introduced Adam Garber from Penn Environmental, a group that is backing the Reading Viaduct Project, to establish a park akin to NYC's High Line. (Not a word about the Chinatown resistance - it sounded like the political support for the Chinnatown objection is not even in the picture). The impediment identified is the Reading organization, now a real estate holding company with property mostly in Australia. It probably sees $$$ in abandoned real estate it never expected to become valuable, and it declines to sell or donate the viaduct property (though Reading is delinuent on their RE taxes). Although development money is not specifically identified, prominent foundation funding is implied, if only this legal impediment would disappear. The city, in fact, is hoping Reading will donate the viaduct. To shore up the viaduct park case, Adam requested that we, as stakeholders, pester the Reading company, now a Real Estate holding co with properties in Australia . . .to let this viaduct go!
Thanks so much for the recap, citygirl! After a bit of searching (Wikipedia article about Reading Company is quite fascinating: Reading Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) - it seems that this is the "new" Reading company: Reading International . I will certainly begin pestering!
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