Pennsylvania Environment Council Forum

Revitalizing the North Delaware Riverfront

November 2, 2001


Patrick Starr, Regional Director, Pennsylvania Environmental Council


The Honorable John F. Street, Mayor, City of Philadelphia

Manuel Stamatakis, Chairman, Delaware River Port Authority
Maxine Griffith, Executive Director, Philadelphia City Planning Commission


Vision for the North Delaware Riverfront
James Corner, Principal, Field Operations and Chairman, Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania


A National Urban Riverfront Perspective
Charles Fink, President/ Founder, Greenways, Inc.

Response Panel – Perspective of Potential Implementers

  • Congressman Robert Borski
  • Barry Eledman, Pennsylvania Director, K. Hovnanian Companies
  • David Haas, Chairman, the William Penn Foundation
  • Debora Russo, Deputy Managing Director, City of Philadelphia
  • Richard Sprenkle, Deputy Secretary, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Conclusion/Lessons Learned

Think creatively!

Think about integration – redevelopment, transportation, brownfields remediation, storm water management, open space. Recognize that what will drive the environmental restoration is an appropriate amount of new development. Then, be willing to consider new roads to address development needs. Developer interest will drive the creation of new roads, a trail network and the restoration of the riverfront.

Think about phasing – recognize that development/restoration will happen in stages. Think in terms of interim vacant land management and increasing public access in stages. Public Access will motivate the process of riverfront development. Attention to brownfields remediation will drive the clean-up and stabilization of the vacant parcels in between.

Think in terms of short-term gains, such as the development of the K&T, Lardner Point (city owned pumping station next to Tacony Palmyra Bridge), and new housing at Bridesburg or other select sites.

The key is to get the ball rolling!

What policies must be put in place right now?

  • Overall rezoning in accordance with the plan/a development overlay district?
  • A detailed greenway plan that clearly identifies where the park will be
  • A clear design scheme for the park such that when finished, the elements appear as one although constructed in bits and pieces.

What structures need to be put in place right now?

  • A holding entity for the vacant and remediating land (PIDC, the RDA, something else)
  • A strategy for involving the public and private sector
  • A restoration entity – akin to the Natural Lands Restoration and Environmental Education Project for Fairmount Park
  • A city departmental coordinating committee to facilitate and coordinate the approval process
  • A large public-private entity to lead the charge
  • How do we tie into the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative? (Many of the issues raised above apply to NTI)

All Events