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Celebration for Upgrade to State-Run Park in Northeast Philadelphia

(Park manager Eric Ihlein watches as local officials cut a ribbon officially opening Benjamin Rush State Park, in Somerton.  Photo by Mike DeNardo)

(Park manager Eric Ihlein watches as local officials cut a ribbon officially opening Benjamin Rush State Park, in Somerton. Photo by Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

 

PHILDELPHIA (CBS) —  The only state park within the City of Philadelphia has received a long-awaited makeover.

The ribbon was cut today, officially opening Benjamin Rush State Park.  It’s a day residents have been waiting  for since 1975, when the park at Roosevelt Boulevard and Southampton Road was created.

Park manager Eric Ihlein (pronounced ee-line) says the $4.7-million renovation finished last fall.

“Previously, we only had one road in,” he recalled today.  “We had our user groups: the gardeners and our (radio controlled airplane) flyers’ club.   Now we have added 3½ miles of trails, and a mile and a half of new road.”

Dolores Barbieri, president of the Somerton Civic Association, wants to be sure the park will be patrolled and maintained.

“We just hope it can stay safe and secure for people who would like to hike and bring their children out here,” she said.

Ihlein says he and three other rangers will keep watch on the park.

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