Phila. School District repairs worrisome wall in East Falls

The once-deteriorating wall on Mifflin Elementary School’s property is no longer a safety risk for pedestrians and commuters along Midvale Avenue in East Falls.

After nearly a year of repair requests from neighborhood officials, the severely-cracked wall near SEPTA’s East Falls train station was restored by the School District of Philadelphia.

“The community is very pleased that it has been repaired and repaired using the same stone,” said Tom Sauerman, president of the East Falls Community Council. “The unfortunate thing is that it took so long to get done.”

Sauerman filed the initial complaint in April 2012 on SeeClickFix, a website in which residents can report and track neighborhood issues. When he received no response, he took his case to the School District, Councilman Curtis Jones, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Licenses and Inspections, and the city solicitor.

The School District of Philadelphia initially installed a fence around the area as a precautionary measure, but the fence blocked the sidewalk, causing pedestrians to walk along the busy street.

In January, a masonry crew was out at the site removing a tree at the top of the hill and restoring the existing wall. Within weeks, the wall was complete, easing the neighborhood’s safety fears of rocks or debris falling on pedestrians.

“I talked to the manager of the project and asked him ‘how difficult was it to get the wall to come down?’ and he said it was ready to come down ‘any day,'” said Sauerman. 

Sauerman added that he understands the financial straits the School District is in and appreciates the efforts officials made for the cause, as well as the efforts of Councilman Curtis Jones and his staff. 

“The entire community is safer and appreciative of those who helped us,” said Sauerman.

The School District did not return a call for comment.

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