FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2021
REINVESTMENT CONTINUES IN UPPER DARBY: MAYOR KEFFER’S COMMUNITY CENTER PUBLIC PRESENTATION SET FOR MARCH 10
UPPER DARBY, PA — Mayor Barbarann Keffer will be holding a virtual public presentation of the plans for the new Upper Darby Community Center On Wednesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. This event will be an opportunity for residents to review the initial design and plans, and provide input on this important project, which is currently in the feasibility phase. Pre-registration is required; individuals can register online via the Township website at www.upperdarby.org, or they can call 610-734-7625 to register by telephone.
The location of the proposed Center is 7000 Walnut Street, which is currently the site of the Upper Darby Welcome Center. Mayor Keffer and her administration are working with BKP (Buell Kratzer Powell), the architecture firm that was awarded the feasibility bid through the township's Community Development Block Grant program, on the planning for and design of the new Center.
“This community center is needed at this location,” Mayor Keffer said. “It would be a big step in the right direction toward the revitalization of Upper Darby. We are a dynamic community for families and businesses, and we welcome input from residents throughout the Township to create the best center possible.”
Partial funding for the project comes from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), a state grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.
“We are deeply grateful to all of the elected officials and community groups who believe, as I do, that Upper Darby deserves a state-of-the-art recreation and learning facility,” Mayor Keffer continued. “From after-school tutoring to computer access to urban farming, adult education, and physical fitness, this center will serve as a catalyst for our business district and a springboard for whatever our individual residents can imagine.”
The Mayor's vision for the Community Center stems from her belief that reinvestment raises the quality of life for all residents and from her experiences playing and coaching basketball. Her initiative to establish a Community Center has received strong support from Upper Darby Township Council, State Representatives Margo Davidson and Mike Zabel, State Senator Tim Kearney, as well as community members across the education, religious, and business sectors. The Upper Darby School Board, Delaware County Parks & Recreation, the Cobbs Creek West Community Association, and the Bywood Community Association also support this endeavor.
Upper Darby is Pennsylvania’s sixth-largest municipality, and Mayor Keffer is committed to revitalizing its public facilities, neighborhoods, and parks. Elected in 2019 after serving on Council for six years, Mayor Keffer has focused her efforts on reform, revitalization, and reinvestment into Upper Darby. Keffer is also working to make the community more inclusive and grow it as a regional leader for families and businesses.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Upper Darby Community Center Received Unanimous Land Development Approval and Next Steps Taken Towards Securing Budget
UPPER DARBY, PA: Mayor Keffer is excited to announce that her long-time advocacy for a Community Center in Upper Darby took a huge step forward at last month’s Council Meeting when Council voted unanimously to move forward with the project. As part of the federal government’s program to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Upper Darby Community Center is eligible for American Rescue Plan funding. At the next meeting on March 16th the budget for the Community Center will be introduced at the Council Meeting, marking the start of the next big step in the project.
JMT Architects, who had been awarded the contract through a competitive RFP process and participated in multiple public meetings as well as solicited feedback from the public through a survey conducted in 5 languages, gave a presentation that included design plans and rendering (see below) of the first of its kind facility located at 7000 Walnut Street where it will replace the current multi-purpose center.
“Council’s approval of this land development - unanimously at that - brings us one step closer to creating a revitalized and unified Upper Darby community. The chance to use ARPA funding to cover some of the costs is an exciting opportunity as well,” Mayor Keffer said. “With the construction of the Community Center, Upper Darby will finally have a place where residents from all over the Township can gather that is also easily accessible without a car. Having the center will not only improve the lives of our residents but work towards revitalizing our business district as well.”
At the Council Meeting on February 2nd, Pastor Nathanial Goodson of the Bywood Community Association spoke in support of the Community Center project. “I am here to support Mayor Keffer’s vision for the Community Center. I am also happy that this modern building will be erected in the Bywood section of Upper Darby,” Pastor Goodson said. “While I am pleased that the center will benefit all residents, I am equally delighted that it will be in one of the traditionally underserved neighborhoods in our community.”
“In addition to the long term positive impacts of the Community Center on Upper Darby residents, the center will also provide a much needed short term economic infusion by creating local jobs,” said Councilman Hafiz Tunis. “The recent passage of the Responsible Contractor Ordinance will ensure that the highest quality local labor will be used in the construction of this facility.”
The Mayor’s belief in the Community Center dates back to her earliest days as a Councilperson and recalls her own history as an all-Catholic League basketball player at Cardinal O’Hara.
“It’s incredibly important to me that the Community Center offer the highest quality facilities possible, especially for Upper Darby’s youth,” Mayor Keffer said. “There are many outdoor public spaces already for them to get together, but really no indoor options. To truly revinvest Upper Darby, we have to provide a safe place for the young people of our community to play, learn, and grow.”