Multi-use riverfront trail to open soon

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has resolved the right-of-way and safety issues that have prevented the organization from opening a new multi-purpose trail along the Delaware River.

It will open by the end of spring, said Joseph Forkin, DRWC vice president for operations and development.

The trail, built through a partnership with the Center City District, was to have opened last year as the first project of the city’s master plan for the Central Delaware waterfront.

For a time, people were using the trail, which begins near Pier 53, behind the Walmart in South Philadelphia, but the problems with right-of-way issues and L&I safety concerns prevented the official launch. The trail was eventually closed.

Forkin said it was announced Wednesday morning,  at the group’s monthly executive board meeting, that the DRWC has negotiated an easement for land owned by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust near Pier 70 and is close to resolving an issue over an easement with the sheet metal workers union hall.

The DRWC also negotiated a compromise with the city’s Department of License and Inspections, prompting L&I to remove code violations that related to access to abandoned piers. L&I originally wanted the DRWC to put fencing all along the path. The agreement instead calls for the DRWC to install warning signs throughout the route, with chain link fences cutting off access to the piers.

Some work will continue after the trail opens. In fact, Forkin said, there will be a temporary route in some places until work is completed, sometime in August.

In other news:

The DRWC awarded an $81,000 contract to Proof Productions Inc. for the building of a stage façade at Penn’s Landing. It is scheduled to open May 1.

A 15 member advisory board for the Pier 53 pop-up park – a park that can be built quickly and cheaply – has also been chosen, and the first outreach meeting will be held April 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sheet Metal Union.

Bio Habitats, which has a $575,000 contract to build the park, is expected to complete the project by August.

The DRWC is also hoping to hold its first public meeting for the riverfront’s master plan by the end of next month.

-Posted by Anthony Campisi

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