A small part of the larger East Coast Greenway, the Kensington & Tacony (K&T) rail trail on the Delaware Riverfront broke ground last month.
Local officials, including the likes of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and former congressman Robert Borski, joined PEC Executive Vice President Patrick Starr at Lardner’s Point Park for the event.
An area that was a derelict brownfield just ten years ago, now serves as an I-95 connector of sorts from Trenton to Wilmington through densely populated communities along the Delaware River, while also serving as a part of the Circuit Trails.
PEC assisted in the trail’s development every step of the way. We developed the plan that laid out the vision expressed by hundreds of participants and from dozens of meetings drawn from Northeast Philadelphia’s riverfront neighborhoods. We also negotiated the agreement of sale of the K&T by Conrail to the City of Philadelphia, and we did our due diligence that included a Phase I and Phase II environmental assessment.
Starr testified before City Council to urge that Philadelphia acquire the K&T with funds PEC had raised, and urged the Fairmount Park Commission to accept responsibility for both the Lardner’s Point brownfield and the derelict K&T right of way. They did so, buying fully into the vision of a “pearl necklace” of Delaware riverfront parks connected by a trail to complement the Schuylkill River Park.
PEC sold the vision to funding partners such as the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the City of Philadelphia, and the William Penn Foundation who subsequently funded the Delaware River City Corporation, to turn the plan into reality. The DRCC has seen the vision of the plan through and capably and responsibly shepherded one project after another to completion.
Soon, the K&T Trail and it connecting trail networks will extend in both directions, becoming a functional trail that one day will lead south to Key West or north to Canada!