PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Nutter on Tuesday will launch a five-year plan to expand Philadelphia’s already massive park system by adding 500 acres of land that now is underutilized.
The program is dubbed “Green 2015.” Deputy mayor Michael DiBerardinis says that by 2015, the city will convert 500 acres of land that is now either vacant or little used and turn it into parkland.
The goal, he says will be to bring parks to the quarter-million city residents who now don’t have one nearby.
“What we’re attempting to do is provide available green space, open space, to residents in the city who don’t currently have it in their neighborhoods,” DiBerardinis said.
DiBerardinis says they hope to convert vacant parcels owned by the city, some waterfront land, and even property held by the School District that is not being used — all at no cost to the city.
One hundred acres, he says, have already been converted. The current Fairmount Park System is more than 10,000 acres.
“I am very confident that over the next four to five years we will complete the work,” he said.
Ultimately, DiBerardinis says the new parkland will make it a more livable city, and more attractive to new residents and businesses, and improve the environment. It improves the environment, he says, because tearing up blacktop and planting grass in its place reduces the amount of storm water runoff, and that complements a Philadelphia Water Department plan of greatly reducing runoff to keep sewerage costs down.
Reported by City Hall Bureau Chief Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060.