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Extending the riverfront trail

Bob Borski

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Riverfront North Partnership and elected officials last Friday celebrated the grand opening of a new trail segment along the Delaware River. The 0.6-mile trail segment is an extension of the existing Kensington & Tacony Trail.

Stephanie Phillips, executive director of the Riverfront North Partnership, called the new trail segment “small but mighty.”

Residents can now enjoy an uninterrupted 2-mile section of riverfront trail in Tacony and connections to the only public boat launches on the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

This trail also serves as a link in the Circuit Trails, the region’s developing 800-mile multi-use trail network linking nine counties across Greater Philadelphia and South Jersey as well as a segment for the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile trail from Florida to Maine.

The trail segment opened Friday represents the newest addition to Riverfront North’s planned 11-mile network of trails and parks.

This extension of the K&T Trail connects Lardner’s Point Park at the base of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge to the Tacony Boat Launch at Princeton Avenue, via a 12-foot-wide multi-use trail lined with native plantings and historic markers.

The project cost $2.5 million and was managed by the city Department of Streets.

Friday’s ceremony took place on the trail at Magee Avenue and the river.

State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, recalling the river’s industrial past, described the project as “history in the making” and “what the future can be.” He encouraged people to join Walk Around Philadelphia on Sept. 3 for a trek from Bridesburg to Torresdale.

City Councilman Mike Driscoll said he will continue to prioritize the greenway in all future budgets. He’s a former Riverfront North Partnership board member whose district covers the riverfront from Glen Foerd to Pulaski Park at Allegheny Avenue in Port Richmond.

Among those in attendance were Mayor Jim Kenney; Michael Mattioni, board chairman of Riverfront North Partnership; state Sen. Jimmy Dillon; state Rep. Pat Gallagher; Patrick Starr, state vice chairman of the Circuit Trails Coalition; Jane Golden, executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia; Adam DePaul, of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania; and Rich Montanez, deputy commissioner of the streets department.

“We are connecting Northeast Philadelphians back to this riverfront,” Starr said.

On the trail light poles are 10 banners, each with a different animal and four crows in the background flying over the river. The animals and crows are all of importance to the Lenape. The banners were created by Lisa Kelley, a resident artist at Tacony LAB Community Art Center. Managing the project was Barb Baur, program manager at Tacony LAB.

Also on hand was Bob Borski, a former congressman and recently retired board chairman at Riverfront North Partnership. In mid-October, groundbreaking will take place for Borski Park, at Orthodox Street and the Delaware River in Bridesburg. ••

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