Eastwick Public Lands Strategy

On October 25, 2018, Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) hosted a Public Meeting to review, consider, and comment on the Eastwick Public Land Strategy Recommendations that were presented to the public on July 26, 2018.

EFNC’s comments and concerns about the Eastwick Public Land Strategy are rooted in a Eastwick’s long legacy of advocacy. The community has dealt with many challenges over the decades. 60 years ago, Eastwick was devastated by Philadelphia’s push for so-called “urban renewal,” when City leaders found justification for uprooting 8,000 Eastwick residents out of their homes using eminent domain, condemnation, and blight certification. Disenfranchisement and distrust lingers, as Eastwick, an environmental justice community, deals with chronic flooding, two superfund landfill sites, pollution from nearby airport and mega-highway, sub-standard homes built on dredge spoil.

While there are pieces of the proposal that we support – including re-purposing Wolf/CommTech school – we have significant concerns about multiple aspects.

The Eastwick Public Land Strategy can be a great “first step” at helping Eastwick heal, not only for residents, but for City officials and agencies that oversee community infrastructure. But EFNC cannot support the plan until more answers and information are provided to crucial questions, including:

  • Have Eastwick’s economic, environmental, and social equity issues been addressed with this plan?
  • Is it prudent to develop in Eastwick’s FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Area (the 100-year floodplain), even if it is legal?
  • Are the right land uses proposed in the right places?
  • Who benefits and who pays the costs in the proposed land strategy

During Hurricane Sandy, October 2012, 1,000 residents were urged to evacuate from Eastwick. Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter came to the planet streets and stated the need for a comprehensive solution to flooding. The burden of proof is on PRA to prove that Eastwick will not flood with the proposed development. Eastwick’s experiences tells us the smart thing is NOT to build here, even if regulations allow for it!

EFNC urges all Eastwick residents to submit comments to the plan before the deadline of October 31, 2018. YOUR voice matters! Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and Interface Studios want to hear YOUR thoughts about Eastwick development. To submit comments, go to PRA website.

Click here to download and read the EFNC Presentation (PDF document, 34 pages).
EFNC Public Mtg FINAL presentation 2018-1025 Cover

History
Through the urging, advocacy, and activism of Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority agreed to undertake the Eastwick Public Lands Study.

The Eastwick Public Lands Strategy resulted from the termination of the Master Urban Renewal Agreement on December 23, 2015. The study, which began in 2016, covers the vacant land owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority along with the former Wolf/Commtech and George Wharton Pepper schools, which are owned by the Philadelphia School District.

The Eastwick Public Lands Strategy is a feasibility study with three primary questions:
− What can the market support?
− What are the environmental constraints?
− What are the community’s goals?

The study involved community input via 3 public meetings and 3 roundtable forums held between April 24, 2017 and July 26, 2018, as well as research, data analysis, and professional input.

The final “Eastwick Public Lands Strategy final recommendation” was presented to the Eastwick community on July 26, 2018. A 90-day comment period follows; comments due October 31, 2018.

EastwickPublicLandsStrategy-Final Recommendations 2018-0726 coverB

 

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