Over the past couple of years, we’ve written several times about Triangle Park, a green space that sprung up at the intersection of E. Passyunk Avenue and Christian and S. 6th Streets a few years ago. This triangular lot was a gas station for decades, then it sat vacant, then it became a park, and now it sadly sits mostly vacant again.
At the end of 2011, it looked as though the Redevelopment Authority would be acquiring the privately owned lot with the intention of maintaining it as a green space moving forward. Then, it seems the PRA changed their tune, insisting that they couldn’t purchase the property without it undergoing environmental testing and remediation, which would cost at least tens of thousands of dollars. This despite the Friends of Triangle Park insisting that any environmental problems stemming from old underground gasoline containers would not impact the shallow-rooted plantings in the park.
A year ago, the owner of the property erected a fence around it because the City was moving so slowly in its purchasing efforts and also to make it clear to potential private buyers that the lot was still for sale. In September, word came out that the owner was going to hire an environmental testing firm to perform a site characterization report to evaluate the extent of subsoil pollution, either for a City purchase or a private purchase. And about a week ago, according to Passyunk Post, the owner tore up much of the park, leaving only a few trees.
The Friends of Triangle Park have not given up, and are encouraging those who still want to see a park here to reach out to the Mayor’s office or Councilman Squilla’s office to make their voice heard. Meanwhile, with the lot now for sale for $250K, and no park in place, we fear it’s becoming more and more likely that the lot will be privately developed, perhaps into a home that resembles this one, just up the street:
Such a shame that bureaucracy and red tape appears to have foiled something that was and would have continued to be such a wonderful neighborhood amenity. Hopefully, the FOTP, the PRA, and the property owner will somehow be able to come back to the table to bring this saga to a conclusion that’s mutually beneficial to all parties.