Efforts includes repaving 1.7 miles of alleyways this year, allocating funds for open space
UPPER DARBY, PA – Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie unveiled his Neighborhood Reinvestment Initiative (NRI), a two-pronged project that includes a program to repave approximately 42 miles of residential alleyways throughout Upper Darby over the next five years, as well as acquire additional open space for passive and active recreational uses.
Mayor Micozzie announced details of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Initiative at Wednesday evening’s meeting of Upper Darby Township Council, where he urged Council to approve some technical changes that would enable him to draw from capital funds for the infrastructure alleyway resurfacing. The Mayor also requested the creation of an open space acquisition line item in the municipal budget so that the township could take prompt action when opportunities to purchase open space arise. “The Neighborhood Reinvestment Initiative is an investment in the future of Upper Darby,” said Mayor Micozzie. “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.”
“The dilapidated condition of some of the residential alleyways in our neighborhoods is one of the top issues I hear about from residents who call my office or speak at townhall meetings,” said Micozzie. The Mayor said he plans to incorporate the initial phase of the alleyway repaving effort into the township’s larger Fall 2019 roadway paving program. He noted that the alleyway effort is in addition to the $3.5 million that Upper Darby Township has invested in roadway resurfacing over the past two years. He said the initial phase will focus on alleys in each of the township’s seven districts that were identified as posing the largest public safety concerns. He noted that homeowners would need to sign legal waivers providing the township with permission to make the improvements.
“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,” said Micozzie. “In most cases, their neighbors don’t have the physical or financial ability to do the required maintenance, but it ends up impacting the home values of the entire block.”
Micozzie also said the condition of some alleys also creates challenges for police, fire and EMS personnel when responding to emergency situations, as well as trash trucks who utilize the alleys for regular trash pick ups. He also noted that standing water forms in large pools from the erosion of portions of the alleyway, which can become a breeding-ground for disease carrying mosquitos.
“Relying solely on homeowners to maintain and pave the alleyways is not an ideal situation from a public safety or property value perspective,” said Micozzie. “We’re making a significant financial investment, but it’s one that is going to pay dividends for years to come.”
Micozzie also noted that the acquisition of open space was identified as a priority in the township’s comprehensive plan. He said for its initial acquisition the township was looking at the Saint Eugene property in Secane but that it would closely be monitoring other opportunities going forward.
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