By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Mill Creek neighborhood in West Philadelphia is gaining a new community center and park, named after one of the giants who represented the area as a long-time Councilman and Congressman.

Nearly every time the late Lucien E. Blackwell’s name was mentioned during the groundbreaking ceremony at 47th and Aspen Streets, his widow, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell smiled and, a few times, pointed to the sky and crossed her arms, as if embracing him.

“He wanted to help people in need, as do I, and do what we can to create jobs, and to make a difference,” she said.

Mayor Kenney has known both for decades, and got a lot of “amens”, when he said he believes in an afterlife.

“And I’ve also been told that every person that you touch positively in your life keeps your memory going when you’re gone. And, because of that, Lucien Blackwell will never be gone, he’ll always be here with us because of all of the good that he did,” said Kenney.

Lucien Blackwell was a Councilman from 1975 through 1991, then served as a Congressman until 1995.

The city of Philadelphia contributed $2 million toward the $6.3 million project; the federal government provided the rest, for the community center, park, and basketball court.

The project is expected to be completed by May of 2018.

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