By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The need for new affordable housing in Philadelphia has collided with the desire for green space and organic food in the inner city. Efforts are being made to save the North Philadelphia Peace Park, while making room for a new mixed-income development.
On a block of North Philadelphia dominated by abandoned houses and litter-strewn lots, the Peace Park was a true oasis.
It wasn’t just lovely to look at – a founder, Amia Jackson, says it was a source of nutrition in a food desert as well.
“Last year we had about a half a ton of organic produce that got delivered to the immediate area,” Jackson says.
Jackson says she understands it cannot stay where it is because of the coming Sharswood-Blumberg redevelopment, a multi-million dollar Philadelphia Housing Authority project. However, she’s hoping PHA will help recreate the Park and ensure that the community’s four years of work at the current site won’t be wasted.
PHA director Kelvin Jeremiah says it will, to the extent possible.
“We value green space and we are trying to balance, frankly, the need for the community garden with the incredibly, the simply incredible, need that we have for affordable housing,” Jeremiah says.