Home News Riverfront park coming to Orthodox Street

Riverfront park coming to Orthodox Street

Bob Borski speaks.

Groundbreaking took place last week for the planned Robert A. Borski Jr. Park, at 3150 Orthodox St. (at Delaware Avenue).

Among those on hand were Mayor Jim Kenney; City Councilman Mike Driscoll; Orlando Rendon, interim commissioner of the city Department of Parks and Recreation; Barbara Wong, creative communities director for the William Penn Foundation; Patrick Starr, of Circuit Trails; Yvonne Stephens, president of the Bridesburg Community Action Alliance; state Rep. Joe Hohenstein; Stephanie Phillips, executive director of Riverfront North Partnership; Michael Mattioni, board chairman of Riverfront North Partnership; city elections commissioner Lisa Deeley; and I Knead Coffee, offering free coffee and pastries.

And, of course, Borski, a former congressman and founder of the Delaware River City Corporation (now known as Riverfront North Partnership).

The 10-acre park is owned and will be managed by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“We’re excited to get to work,” Rendon said.

The park will be built on the site of a former concrete factory. It is the final in a series of eight planned parks, which will complete the 11-mile Riverfront North Greenway.

The park will have nice views of the Delaware River and Betsy Ross Bridge. Phase 1 construction will include a large lawn area, native meadow, nature paths, restrooms and parking.

The park will open at the conclusion of Phase 1 construction, expected in early 2025. Phase 2 is expected to add a picnic pavilion, stage pavilion, terraced lawn seating and a boardwalk overlook.

Riverfront North Partnership has invested nearly $45 million in the design, construction and restoration of river parks and trails, and Borski park will anchor the southern portion.

“It will be a great addition to the 11-mile trail we are completing,” said Mattioni, of Riverfront North Partnership.

Mattioni thanked Mariann Porter Dempsey, a retired Riverfront North Partnership aide, and Joe Slabinski, a Bridesburg resident and original board member.

Borski park has received more than $7 million in public and private investment, including $2 million from the William Penn Foundation.

Wong said the William Penn Foundation’s vision includes community engagement. That includes Stephens, a Borski park advisory board member who grew up on Garden Street.

“Bob, Mariann, wonderful job,” Stephens said.

Phillips, of Riverfront North Partnership, described the park as “years in the making.”

Starr, of Circuit Trails, recalls working with the Bridesburg Historical Society almost 20 years ago when one of the issues was the public being cut off from fishing opportunities in the river. Now, he said, “I feel Bridesburg proud.”

Kenney said the city has invested $90 million in riverfront development. He described riverfront parks as “extensions of our neighborhoods.”

Hohenstein described the new park as an “environmental gem in the making,” adding that it will lead to economic opportunities. He said the name is a well-deserved honor for Borski.

“Stewardship. Bob Borski embodies it,” he said.

Driscoll, a former Riverfront North Partnership board member, labeled the groundbreaking as a dream that is getting close to reality.

“It’s a wonderful day for everyone in Bridesburg and Philadelphia,” he said.

Borski, a state representative for six years and congressman for 20 years, thanked Driscoll for leading the effort on Council to name the park after him.

“I greatly appreciate this tribute,” he said. ••

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