Riverfront North: a new name, but same old DRCC

DRCC is now known as Riverfront North Partnership, but the company still has the same goal of reshaping Northeast Philadelphia’s riverfront landscape.

The name game: The Delaware River City Corporation officially became the Riverfront North Partnership. Above, Tom Branigan, Riverfront North’s executive director, spoke about the nonprofit during a recent celebratory rollout event at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale. TOM BECK / TIMES PHOTO

The Delaware River City Corporation recently became the Riverfront North Partnership, as the organization held a celebratory rollout event at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale.

Tom Branigan, Riverfront North’s executive director, said the nonprofit’s old name didn’t “roll off the tongue” and didn’t “clearly say what we do.”

“My experience was when I would do a presentation and tell them what organization I’m from, I don’t think it really registered,” Branigan said. “I think they kind of forgot what I was saying because it’s a long name that doesn’t mean anything.”

Additionally, Branigan said many would often confuse the Delaware River City Corporation with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which are two different organizations.

The name change was part of a strategic plan the company formulated for 2016 through 2018. In addition to the name change, the company now has new logos and a new website.

“We’ve hit a critical point in our development of the greenway and we’re starting to see a real impact,” said former Congressman and Chairman of the Riverfront North Partnership Board Bob Borski, who was instrumental in the creation of the organization. “Our progress has outgrown our former name. Over the past few years, we’ve made great strides in reshaping Northeast Philadelphia’s riverfront landscape that will benefit residents and visitors for generations to come. Reconnecting the community to the river and activating the spaces with programming has brought about an invigorating energy for the whole area.”

The nonprofit is creating an active 11-mile greenway of trails and parks along the Delaware River to be known as Riverfront North, connecting Philadelphia neighborhoods to nature and offering areas for recreation, community building and environmental stewardship activities.

The nonprofit began in 2004. With other big cities such as New York and Chicago having already established green spaces near waterfronts, why did it take so long for Philadelphia — one of the country’s oldest cities — to commit to making its riverfront a more scenic place?

“There’s an awful lot of recycling activity along the river that is where former bigger industrial activity was taking place,” Branigan said. “We’ve got established neighborhoods and they’re cut off from the river by I-95 — that’s a key issue. For the most part, the industry is between I-95 and the river. And a lot of brownfield situations. There’s some contamination that we’ve been dealing with and cleaning up. There’s a superfund site in our greenway, so I think there’s a lot of reasons why people look at it and they think, ‘That’s going to be a hard thing to do, so let’s not do it.’ And Bob kind of saw past that. As a congressman, he traveled a lot, he saw a lot of cities — as you said we’re reclaiming the riverfront. And he’s from the Northeast and he’s thinking, ‘Why can’t we do the same thing up here?’ ”

You can learn more information about the organization and check out its new branding at riverfrontnorth.org ••