By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Although construction is already well underway, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held this morning for a $48-million project with housing and commercial space that aims to create a vital and sustainable community in North Philadelphia.

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Mayor Michael Nutter and Septa general manager Joe Casey were among those who participated in the ceremony.

The project, Paseo Verde (“green path”), is scheduled to be completed in April of next year, at 9th and Berks Streets in North Philadelphia, right next to the Temple University regional rail train station.

(Nilda Ruiz. Credit: John McDevitt)

One of the driving forces behind the project is Nilda Ruiz (right), president and CEO of the Latino-based nonprofit development organization Asociación de Puertorriqueños en Marcha (“Association of Puerto Ricans On The March”) — APM.

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“One of the things that APM is trying to do  is change behavior,” she told KYW Newsradio today, “and we deal a lot with the low-income folks.  So what we try to talk about is healthy living, walkability.   Today, if you have a car, it’s just as much as a mortgage!  So if people could start learning to use the public transportation, it’s good for them because they can get anywhere and it reduces the cost of living because they will be able to do more with their money.”

The project will have 120 residential units for low- and moderate-income families, and 30,000 square feet of community program and retail space.

KYW’s Regional Affairs Council – February

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