Shawmont civic votes to expand its borders to Dearnley Park

Helene Rodgers has lived in Dearnley Park since 1943, or “forever” in her words. She currently serves as the interim president of what is left of the Dearnley Park Civic Association after the organization lost its namesake and members went separate ways following the teardown of the Dearnley Mansion. Although Rodgers could not save the mansion, she is trying to preserve the community she grew up in by teaming up with the Residents of Shawmont Valley Association (RSVA).

“This group knows what they’re doing, and we need to get together with them to protect what we have left,” Rodgers said at the Shawmont civic’s meeting at the Andorra Library last night. 

Members of the RSVA voted to expand their coverage area to help their neighbors in Dearnley Park, which is located between the Roxborough and Manayunk neighborhoods near SEPTA’s Ivy Ridge train station and does not currently have a Registered Community Organization. An RCO ensures that the community is protected when future zoning issues or changes arise.

Currently, the plan is to expand the RSVA boundaries to include Harmen Road, the North side of Domino Lane, Umbria Street, Flat Rock Road, and sections following down to the Schuylkill through the footbridges.

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“We’ve worked hard on the canal area, and we want to include and keep that in our boundaries,” said Dave Cellini, president of the Residents of Shawmont Valley Association. The RSVA will continue to work with existing civics and city officials to continue the merge with Dearnley Park. Cellini plans to organize a meeting with the Ridge Park Civic Association to discuss the new permanent boundaries as they merge with Dearnley Park.

Eva St. construction concerns 

Another item on last night’s agenda was the ongoing construction on Eva Street. Residents of the street say they have been struggling with the Philadelphia Water Department and other city officials for months.

“It’s been a nightmare since August. We’ve lived at our house for 38 years now, and never had a problem getting in and out,” said Eva Street resident Jimmy Friel. “We’re land locked.”

The problem originated when the Philadelphia Water Department initiated a project to help control rainwater runoff in the area. New piping lines were installed, but some residents say their sidewalks and driveways were not correctly reconstructed. The sidewalks and driveway aprons are now on their third restructuring phase since August.

Residents are concerned because the sidewalks are not matching up to American Disability Act standards, citing potential issues for students at nearby Shawmont Elementary School and safety risks for handicapped neighbors. Additionally, it has become an issue for residents’ cars and trailers to maneuver in and out of the steeply-sloped driveways.

RSVA members have sent letters and pictures to the city, and they continue to follow up on the issue. Thanks in part to residents like Friel, the PWD is aware of the problem, and the RSVA believes that the neighborhood is on its way to getting the issue resolved.

“We’ll wait until the end of the week to see if we get a response, but we’ll stay on top of them.” Friel said.

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