In a vacuum, 1265 Mascher St. is an ideal candidate for redevelopment. It's been vacant for decades. It's a block away from Girard Avenue and two blocks from Frankford Avenue. Located in South Kensington, it's surrounded on all sides by small and medium sized projects and there's a couple of huge projects in the pipeline nearby. With a footprint of about 20'x44', you can build a nice house here which should sell quickly. So… what's the problem?
This property was, until recently, part of the Cohocksink Community Garden. The parcels pictured above have been used as a garden on and off over the years, and according to Philly.com the current iteration was organized in 2010. A lot that's owned by the Kensington South CDC is bookended by two privately owned properties, a situation that meant that the garden was always living on borrowed time, especially given the rampant redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhood. Recently, work got started on a new single family home on the corner, a parcel that previously featured plantings, a tall pine tree, and a picnic table. Now it's literally a hole in the ground.
In other similar situations, we've seen gardeners react with indignance, aggressively fighting the redevelopment of the land they've worked hard to improve. Over the summer, in the aforementioned Philly.com story, neighbors seemed hopeful that they could save the garden but realistic that it might not be possible. A representative from the garden even suggested that the loss of the corner would render the rest of the garden unusable, we'd guess due to lack of sunlight.
With the corner now set to become a house, we hope that the Cohocksink folks can come up with some creative ideas to keep the rest of the garden going. It's a shame that the garden's been shrunk, it would be a greater shame to see it disappear entirely. If, however, using the land as a garden is truly impossible moving forward, we hope that the CDC acts quickly to redevelop the parcel instead of allowing it to sit fallow indefinitely.