Forty years ago, the Philadelphia Water Department discontinued use of a reservoir next to the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. The 37-acre man-made lake located around 33rd and Oxford Streets, is now a nesting place for migratory birds traveling along the eastern seaboard.
The National Audubon Society and Outward Bound (OB) have introduced plans to transform the lake and about 13-acres of land that surround its perimeter into the East Park Leadership and Conservation Center, a state of the art educational center. Members of the group met with the Parks and Recreation department this month to discuss pre-lease approvals, according to Katie Newsom Pastuszek, OB’s executive director. The group is on target to present their plans to City Council this spring. A best-case scenario would mean a new $20M LEED certified center by the end of 2015.
If you’ve been tracing the line of development north of Brewerytown, you might have stumbled across 25 new town homes, interspersed among existing housing stock on 31st Street, between Berks and Diamond Streets. The Strawberry Mansion Town Homes, as per their namesake, reside in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, near the eastern edge of Fairmount Park. Since their completion in 2011, only six of these affordable housing units have been sold and occupied, which could be an indication of the salability of the remaining homes.
In the past
Same corner, yesterday
“I think the neighborhood gets an unfair, bad rap,” says Sierra Thomas, an attorney from the Friends Rehabilitation Program Inc., the organization that developed the properties with assistance from federal and city agencies. “We shouldn’t have any problems selling them in the same way people do selling properties in…