Hello fans of Carpenter Green Park!
We wanted to reach out to everyone and relay some info about the Carpenter Green Park project. Some of you may recall that we were (seemingly) ready to break ground last summer when we had achieved our funding goal. Well, as you can see, that didn't happen...and we were just as disappointed as the rest of you! After a series of frustrating false-starts thereafter, we decided to hold off issuing updates until we were ABSOLUTELY certain we had something definitive to tell everyone.
But first...Who owns the park? Who will operate it? Who will maintain it?
As many of you know, SOSNA does not own the land where the park is going...nor will it own the park. The Phila. Redevelopment Authority (PRA) currently owns the land. Several years ago, the PRA decided to forego selling off the land and through many negotiations, ultimately agreed to let SOSNA fund the design and construction of a public park on the property. When construction on the park is completed, full ownership will be transferred directly to Parks & Recreation (PPR). Our recently-formed "friends" group (Friends of Carpenter Green Park) will then be entering into an agreement with PPR to help continually clean and maintain the public park.
So, what's with the series of delays?
Although we believed we were set to start (or 'resume', to be precise) construction on the park last summer, we ran into a series of, shall we say, 'bureaucratic' obstacles that significantly set us back in regards to the approval process with various City agencies. One thing that compounded this setback was the amount of time (over 3 years) that passed between the completion of Phase I of the park (in 2015) and last summer when finally raised enough funds to complete the park (Phase II). That amount of time, coupled with a turnover in administration at a number of City Agencies, required us to revisit all of our previous approvals with PRA, PPR, the Water Deptartment (PWD), and License & Inspections (L&I).
As of last summer, we were under the impression that since the original design hadn't changed much and all we were looking to do was essentially finish what we started, that we could move right into construction. But, as any of you in the development and/or construction industry know, when it comes to approvals and permitting, especially when redeveloping City-owned land, it can be a long and complicated process. So needless to say, A LOT has been happening in the background! And even though it's been a very long road to get here, thankfully, all of the of City agencies involved, along with Councilman Johnson's office, have helped us navigate through the various processes as much as they could!
So, is the park really happening?
Y E S...the park is REALLY happening!! Funding is in place, construction contracts have been signed, deposit checks have been written, timelines are being finalized, and (after much back and forth with L&I) the approved Zoning and Building Permits have been issued (just yesterday, in fact!). At this point, we have one final kick-off meeting to attend with all the parties involved and then it's off to the races!
Yes, the grass is super long. We are well aware! ;) But as commencement of construction was eminent and paying to mow a site that's about to be regraded seemed a little crazy, we were holding off in the hopes of coordinating the two efforts! So for those of you who love 'freedom lawns', enjoy it while it lasts! And for those of you who can't stand the way it looks, fear not...the machines are on their way!