Eastwick Public Planning Meeting, September 27

All are invited to a public Eastwick Planning Meeting on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, 6:00-8:00 pm, at Penrose Elementary School, 2515 S. 78th Street, Philadelphia PA 19153. Attend and lend YOUR voice to visioning 200 acres of publicly-owned land in Eastwick. This important meeting reviews and recaps information gathered since the planning process launched in spring 2017.

The Eastwick Public Lands Strategy and Origins
One of the largest urban renewal projects in U.S. history officially ended on December 2015, when the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) reached an agreement with New Eastwick Corporation (NEC) to release any development rights for 134 acres of vacant land in Eastwick, southwest Philadelphia. The City and PRA agreed to carry out a community-driven planning and feasibility study to determine best use for the land.

In August 2016, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued for Eastwick Public Land
Planning Services to complete a vision and development/implementation plan for this property and other publicly-owned vacant properties in Eastwick. These sites include (reference map below):

  • (Site 1) A 122 acre site roughly bounded by 84th Street, Lindbergh Boulevard and Mario Lanza Boulevard;
  • (Site 2) A 5.65-acre, parcel at the southwest corner of 84th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard;
  • (Site 3) Multiple parcels, including the former Communications Technology High School site and the former Pepper Middle School site owned by the Philadelphia School District, as well as additional PRA-owned lands located along and generally bounded by Mario Lanza Boulevard, between 81st & 84th Streets.

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Plan Goal and Outcome
This is a land use and vision plan for publicly-owned, vacant sites in Eastwick. This plan will recommend a range of potential uses for the 3 sites based upon the market and ecological data collected, as well as how those uses align with community input. This plan will not select a particular development, or developers, for any of the sites, but will serve as a guide to make decisions about future development proposals.

Who’s Involved
YOU, we hope! This planning process is open to the public, and all who have a stake in the future of Eastwick are encouraged to participate. The more community voices, the better.

Interface Studio, a local urban planning and design firm, was selected as the consultant to lead this planning process in partnership with Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), along with other local officials and community stakeholders, through the Request for Proposals. Interface Studio has partnered with a team of experts, including the University of Orange, Real Estate Strategies, BLD Partners and WSP.

Collectively, they bring together planning, urban design, community engagement, landscape architecture, ecology, public health and engineering in one integrated consultant team.

What Have We Learned So Far?
The first public Eastwick Planning Meeting was held on April 24, 2017, with more than 150 attendants. Three (3) Roundtables were held in spring-summer, with discussions and ideas framed around the concepts of Align, Create, Connect.

On September 27, the consultant team will review their data analysis with the public, including how the water flows through the area and whether or not these sites can be used to reduce the risk of flooding in Eastwick.

For more information and to review plan documents to date, visit the Lower Eastwick Public Land Strategy website.



“How Water Works in Eastwick” Workshop, May 15

All are invited to join “How Water Works in Eastwick” community workshop to better understand climate adaptation and flood mitigation strategies that can be integrated into the Eastwick Planning Process.

The workshop is being held on Monday, May 15, 2017, 6:00 pm, at the Eastwick Mercy Wellness Center, 2821 Island Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19153.

The Consortium for Climate Research in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN) and Lower Darby Creek Area Research Team are hosting this workshop to discuss in detail the Eastwick community’s flooding problem, introduce a new tool for understanding the combined impacts of coastal and tidal flows, and explore the various urban planning considerations associated with several leading climate adaptation and flooding mitigation possibilities.

The focus of the workshop is “How Water Works in Eastwick.” Affected by downstream flows from Darby/Cobbs creeks and the Schuylkill River as well as tidal influences including storm surge and sea level rise from the Delaware River, Eastwick is vulnerable to both upstream and downstream factors.

CCRUN has developed a new hydrological model that can analyze the potential combined impacts of all of these factors. The workshop will introduce the model, various gray and green infrastructure responses to climate adaptation, and techniques used to mitigate flooding that are applicable to Eastwick.

We will begin a conversation of how to integrate residents’ experiences and knowledge of the community with those of scientists. We will then break into small groups to further the conversation between residents and scientists while investigating sites of interest to the Eastwick Planning Process.

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition urges all to attend this workshop, bring a neighbor, and be informed about environmental challenges that impact our community’s social and economic well-being.

Eastwick Planning Public Meeting, April 24

Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) urges all Eastwick residents and stakeholders to attend the Eastwick Planning Public Meeting  on Monday, April 24, 6:00 pm, at St. Paul’s AME Church, 8398 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia PA 19153.

During this meeting, community members will meet the planning team and hear about the process. Data on existing conditions will be shared. A short formal presentation will be followed by an interactive comment and input session.

YOUR input is very important in visioning 200 acres of public lands in lower Eastwick. Attend with a friend, and be involved in your community!

Additional public meetings will be scheduled, including the first of three community roundtables (working sessions) to be held on May 22, 2017 at the Eastwick Mercy Wellness Center. Stay tuned for more information.

The Lower Eastwick public lands planning process is being led by consultant Interface Studio LLC, in partnership with Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, and a steering committee comprised of representatives from several city agencies, Eastwick residents and stakeholders.

For more details about the 12-month Eastwick public lands planning process, visit this website.

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Environmental Hearing at City Hall, March 22

Philadelphia City Council is holding a public hearing on the environment on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 3:00 pm, at City Hall Room 400.  Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) urges all Eastwick residents and stakeholders to attend this open city meeting.

YOU make a difference in conveying to city officials that flooding, air pollution, and other environmental factors deeply impact our community. Attend to lend your voice and support!

EFNC members will testify at the hearing, highlighting these points:

  • Eastwick is an environmental justice community in SW Philadelphia. Residents endure disproportionate burdens, encompassing multiple issues dating back decades.
  • Eastwick is impacted by toxic emissions from multiple, nearby sources. Pollution comes from oil refinery, major postal distribution center, and a mega-highway running through the neighborhood.
  • The Philadelphia International Airport has a significant impact on air quality. Hundreds of aircraft daily release excess jetfuel into the atmosphere over Eastwick during landings into PHL, among the busiest airports in the world.
  • High rates of asthma and respiratory illnesses afflict Eastwick residents. Air quality studies are being developed to quantify toxins so that solutions can be explored.
  • Eastwick families have lived within sight of the Clearview landfill since the 1950’s, and children played on the dump. The Clearview and Folcroft landfills were closed in the 1970’s, and in 2001, the Lower Darby Creek Area (LDCA) was declared a national priority superfund site. The EPA initiated remediation in 2013, a lengthy process that is ongoing today.
  • Eastwick is plagued by chronic and severe flooding, resulting from the filling of Tinicum marsh, coupled with increased threat of storm surge from sea level rise and climate destablization.
  • Eastwick is situated on what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identifies as a 100-year floodplain. This means extreme floods have a one percent chance of occurring in any given year; Hurricanes Floyd and Irene both caused massive flooding.
  • Since much of Eastwick was built in FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Area, Eastwick residents need affordability options for rising flood insurance premiums that threaten homeowners in this special FEMA area. Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program are imperative.
  • Like many urban neighborhoods, asphalt is pervasive in Eastwick. Extensive impervious surfaces exacerbates flooding, with few trees or vegetation to naturally absorb stormwater.
  • Many homes in Eastwick were built on silt and dredge spoil. Mediocre construction is eroding, and foundations are cracking with the ever-present pressure of water

It’s important for Philadelphia city officials to hear our message: Eastwick’s economic and social health are intricately connected to the environment. Sustainable solutions and policies must address flooding, climate change, clean air and clean water.

The Environmental Hearing is free and open to the public. To enter City Hall, you may need photo ID to sign-in to the building. We hope to see you there!

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