After 54 years, Eastwick's development will come to an end
Thanks to a new deal signed by Mayor Michael Nutter last week, the neighborhood of Eastwick will have a voice in their community’s continuing development.
The City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia International Airport and the New Eastwick Corporation (NEC), reached an agreement on how to continue the economic development of over 129 acres of undeveloped land on the west side of the neighborhood.
The NEC which owned the land, sold it to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) for $5 million in the deal according to Philly.com. The PRA is the arm of city government charged with neighborhood development.
““I am extremely pleased an agreement was reached so that we may look forward to the future development that will take place in Eastwick section of the City,” said Nutter.
The PRA has worked with the NEC to evolve the Eastwick neighborhood at the southwestern end of the city, near the airport. Since 1961, close to 3,000 homes, 1,000 apartment units, two shopping centers, 38 retail shops and 1,000 room hotel have been built in the neighborhood.
However, the last few decades of development have also brought issues to Eastwick, specifically for residents. The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia has been the legal counsel of the Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition, an organization made up of community residents and “stakeholders” which advocates for sustainable development in Eastwick. According to them, development in Eastwick has displaced 10,000 people and has taken over more than 2,300 acres of land.
Along with the issues of displacement, residents have also voiced their concerns with flooding issues in the area in recent years as well as issues with pollution due to the neighborhood's proximity to two Superfund sites designated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The PRA and the City will begin a community planning process and determine the best uses for these parcels,” said Brian Abernathy, executive director of the PRA. “ We hope the final development will be done with the community as a partner so the residents can be part of the process.”
The PRA will begin to work on this project alongside the City Planning Commission starting next year.