Darragh chairs first meeting as president

The Parkwood Civic Association has a new leader whose first priority is to formulate the organization’s new agenda for the months ahead.

On Jan. 18, Matt Darragh chaired his first meeting as president of the PCA. Local voters should be familiar with Darragh as the candidate who challenged incumbent Martina White for the 170th district seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives last November. Though White, a Republican, won that race by eight percentage points in the heavily Democrat district, Darragh’s defeat was Parkwood’s gain as neighbors elected him to succeed Marge Philippi to lead the civic association.

Philippi had previously declared her wish to pass the job to someone else. Darragh’s term is two years.

With a relatively light agenda for last week’s civic meeting at St. Anselm Church, Darragh solicited ideas for projects that the PCA might adopt. One of the first suggestions came from a man who wants something done about speeding motorists on Dunks Ferry Road.

At just a mile long, the Philadelphia portion of Dunks Ferry Road cuts through the heart of Parkwood, connecting Byberry Road with Mechanicsville Road in Bucks County, just beyond the Poquessing Creek and the city limits. It’s mostly residential, but also features St. Anselm Church and school, Junod Playground, Parkwood Youth Organization and a potter’s field once used by the city to bury deceased indigents.

The man who raised the subject at last week’s meeting suggested that the city install a digital speed detector sign to warn motorists of their excessive speeds.

Danielle McDermond, an aide to City Councilman Brian O’Neill, reported that her boss is very aware of the speed complaints. That’s why he asked the city’s Department of Streets to do a traffic study. Preliminary findings indicate that speed humps may be warranted for Dunks Ferry, although further research is planned, McDermond said.

The resident said that he thinks installing a digital sign should be the first move because it’s less permanent and potentially less intrusive. If it works, there would be no need for speed humps. If people don’t like the sign, it can be easily removed, he said.

Parkwood residents also have local parks on their minds. Darragh said that state money may be available for improvements to Benjamin Rush State Park.

It’s money that was left over from major renovations completed in 2013. That year, the state installed a new entrance and paved driveway, hiking and bicycling trails, community garden and radio-controlled model airplane field in the 275-acre park. Darragh wants to know what the state plans to do with any surplus funding.

Other meeting-goers complained that authorities should stop illegal ATV use in the park and surrounding areas.

Separately, the civic association took steps to advance its own public profile. Members voted unanimously to invest in a post office box and to upgrade the civic’s website. Darragh recommended that the group establish an official Facebook page, although some residents noted that there are other “Parkwood” pages that function as forums for local issues. Local real estate agent Joe McCarthy said he created one of the neighborhood sites and monitors it to remove inappropriate content. ••