The Reading Viaduct Spur took another step toward reality Wednesday morning when the Philadelphia Art Commission gave the project the blessing of final approval.
The Spur is a quarter-mile arm of the viaduct that stretches between Broad Street and Callowhill Street.
Wednesday’s presentation described in detail how Phase 1 would incorporate plant material and path surface materials (think chip seal paving) into the project. It also addressed how structural elements (think bridges) would be rehabilitated; how recreational features (benches, swings, lighting) would be strategically placed on the site; how toxins (mostly railroad ballast, very little PCB presence) would be remediated; and how the entire spur would be maintained.
The Center City District is still raising money to complete the planned improvements on the first phase of the project. The group has raised about 65 percent of the $9 million it needs for the “SEPTA spur” and is pursuing a $3.5 million grant from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), according to John Struble, of Friends of the Rail Park. After the improvements are completed, the city would take over ownership of the park.
What do you do with an abandoned elevated railroad that runs 1.5 miles through the heart of Manhattan? Turn it into a 7-acre urban park, of course.
Watch this amazing video about the creation of an oasis in the middle of the nation’s largest city. It goes to show what community involvement and a desire to preserve the past, in a way that benefits present and future generations, can do.
For more information about this amazing space, click here: http://www.thehighline.org/
The next town in my series of redevelopment success stories in Quakertown, PA. Pottstown area residents are all familiar with Quakertown. We even share Route 663.
Quakertown has benefited over the years, to some degree, by their proximity to the big cities in the Lehigh Valley. They are part of suburbia on heavily traveled Route 309. What many people think of when they get a visual of Quakertown is the “Big Box” sprawl on 309. However, there is more to Quakertown.
Quakertown Borough is 2.0 square miles and contained 8,931 residents according to the 2000 census. A 2009 estimate put the population of the borough at 8,672. The estimated median income for Quakertown in 2008 was $53,340. The 2008 estimated per capita income was $27,000. The City-data crime index for Quakertown in 2009 was 258.0, which is considered low.
This all sounds rather idyllic. Why not roll with it? However, the status quo was not good enough for Quakertown officials who felt they needed to get people excited about their downtown and what it has to offer. Honestly, I never thought there was much more to Quakertown than Route 309, if the truth be told. So now I am excited too!
Quakertown has come up with the all important “tag line” which is “Explore The Possibilities”. Kind of peeks your interest further, doesn’t it! I enjoy exploring! Now I feel the urge to drive up to Quakertown and venture into their downtown to “explore” the possibilities! Local officials want to make Quakertown a destination. To that end, they hired Delta Development Group of Mechanicsburg, PA to help lead them to the promised land of redevelopment. In addition, Quakertown has hired Marketing Solutions of Quakertown to help them identify and market their borough.
The $64,000 question: What kind of destination does Quakertown want to be? The winning answer is recreation, culture, shopping and dining. To that end a logo was carefully crafted incorporating these elements. Because Quakertown is strategically located on the edge of the Lehigh and Delaware valleys, they are marketing themselves in both areas.
Quakertown was once a manufacturing and commercial center. With the decline of industry, Quakertown is now a bedroom community and regional shopping destination. Quakertown has decided to work with the assets they have and improve upon them. Instead of crying over what once was, they are embracing what is.
Click here to check out the Quakertown development organization’s website – Quakertown Alive! http://www.quakertownalive.com/
Hat tip to readers Katy and Andrew for bringing this story to my attention!
Demographic data from Wikipedia and City-data.com
Pittsburgh is establishing a comprehensive growth plan to “right size” the city after years of population loss. Year one has already been completed with thousands of residents taking part in helping to shape a way forward for Pennsylvania’s second largest city.
This plan, which is expected to be completed in 2014, will focus on the following areas in order:
Open spaces and parks – wrapping up
Cultural heritage and preservation – up and running
The next ten have yet to be started:
The Pittsburgh planning department is enthusiastically seeking participation from city residents! The cost of this long-range plan is $2.3 million dollars. Cities are not required to submit comprehensive plans but they can opt to do so. Only a handful of cities have done this. Pittsburgh is once again being a leading innovator in their approach to managed growth and sustainability.
These components were not accidentally chosen. Open space is first because vacant land use will influence every other category on the list. Pittsburgh has 5,500 acres of open space. Half is parks and 14,000 vacant lots make up the rest. Pittsburgh realizes that green space has an impact on property values.
These meetings last two hours and are held on various nights and in several locations around Pittsburgh to maximize citizen involvement.
Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as one of America’s most livable cities.
Congrats to Lower Providence Township for winning a 2010 Green Futures Achievement Award from Montgomery County Green Futures and the Montgomery County Lands Trust for improvements made to Harry F. Hoy Memorial Park in Arcola.
Read the entire Times Herald article here: http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2010/11/08/news/doc4cd7920a5a710968285662.txt
There has been talk about this project recently which prompted me to do some research. The Promenade project has been on the books for some time, however funding kept it from becoming a reality.
PennDOT recently opened up their coffers and we are getting almost a million dollars to complete this project. I could not remember specifics on what the project entailed except that the name does infer certain things.
I found this information after doing to internet surfing:
Pottstown Promenade – was conceived as a pedestrian and bicycle link between Downtown Pottstown and the Montgomery County Community College. The promenade is expected to be constructed in 2005, and will connect Hanover Street to the bus stop facility adjacent to the community college with a link to Riverfront Park and the River Center at Pottstown.
Personally, I think this is a great idea because it addresses quality of life issues in an urban area. Green space is important if we are trying to attract middle-class people to Pottstown as taxpaying permanent residents.
The revitalization of Pottstown hinges on projects like these and the ability to attract new residents, business and industry.
Kudos to Jason Bobst, Borough Council and everyone involved for making this project a reality.