UPPER DARBY — Township council discussed a Neighborhood Reinvestment Initiative at their meeting Wednesday that would include paving private rear alleyways. They also are looking to acquire more open space, namely ground at St. Eugene’s School in the Primos section.
The price tag for the projects comes to $600,000, which will be paid for with capital funds and grant money.
According to Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Judge Jr., $2.2 million of unencumbered money will be transferred from various departments within the township to fund the alleyway resurfacing, the 2019 street resurfacing project and traffic calming on Owen Avenue between Garrett Road and Marshall Road. Grant applications have been submitted for $600,000 for acquisition of open space.
Mayor Thomas Micozzie announced 1.7 miles of alleys will be repaved this year with plans to continue the project for five years, repaving a total of 42 miles of residential alleyways.
“We have to work out the details,” Judge said. “The owners will have to sign off on it.”
Repaving driveways has been a thorn in the side of many council members due to the numerous complaints lodged by residents. Repaving common alleys has always been the responsibility of all the owners on the block.
“The dilapidated condition of some of the residential alleyways in our neighborhood is one of the top issues I hear from residents,” Micozzie said, a statement shared by members of council. “The most common complaints I receive are from residents who use the alleyway to access the rear of their homes for parking, but have neighbors who fail to maintain their respective portion of the alley.
“In most cases, their neighbors don’t have the physical or financial ability to do the required maintenance, but it impacts the home values of the entire block. Relying solely on homeowners to maintain and pave the alleyways is not an ideal situation from a public safety or property value perspective. We’re making a significant financial investment, but it’s going to pay dividends for years to come.”
Two alleyways in each of the seven districts, a total of 14, will be earmarked for repaving this year, with plans to continue the program for five years, doing 14 alleyways each year at a cost of approximately $200,000 annually.
Members of the township’s engineering department selected the alleyways to be paved.
“The Neighborhood Reinvestment Initiative is an investment in the future of Upper Darby,” Micozzie said. “Procuring additional open space in a mature community like Upper Darby is always a challenge so we need to be able to react quickly when opportunities arise to acquire both large tracts of land and smaller properties that can serve as pocket parks. At the same time investing in improvements to residential alleyways is sorely needed and will help to improve property values throughout the township.”
Council President Donald Bonnett referred the ordinances to the finance committee for review.
The two ordinances will be presented for consideration at the June 19 council meeting for general obligation bonds and the 2019 Capital Project to fund the alleyways, acquisition of land for open space, the annual road resurfacing project and other projects.