The Tacony CDC has promoted, supported, and participated in the
planning process of several
initiatives that positively impact the neighborhood. These projects, and others sure to
continue to improve the economic vitality, environmental health, and quality of life in
Tacony Library & Arts Building (LAB) - 6918 Torresdale Avenue
The Tacony LAB is a joint project of the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Mural Arts
Program. Made possible by Councilman Bobby Henon’s support and fundraising efforts, the LAB
will serve as studio space for two artists in residence and as a temporary library annex
while the Tacony Library undergoes a two-year renovation (learn
more about the planned
The LAB space will allow residents continued access to computers, wireless internet,
circulation materials, and a place to study during the neighborhood branc’s closure. At the
same time, it will provide a space for the artists to collaborate with community members in
their design and implementation of public art works. It is the City’s first attempt to
provide continued library services in a neighborhood facing the temporary closure of their
local branch. It will also infuse the neighborhood with more artwork than it has ever seen,
including the resident artists’ first two projects: the city’s first fresco mural and a
parklet on Torresdale Avenue, intended to serve as the LAB’s outdoor living room.
The Tacony CDC provided support for the renovation of the double storefront’s renovation.
Improvements made to the building include a new awning, large picture windows, and
attractive security grates. We are also partnering with the Tacony branch’s staff to
establish a business resource center in the newly renovated location -- stay tuned for more
Although the Tacony branch should re-open in the spring of 2018, the LAB is projected to
keep its doors open for at least three years. Stay up to date on events, programs, and
opportunities for collaborating with the artists in residence by liking their facebook page:
The Tacony LAB is a
partnership between the Office of Councilman Bobby Henon, the Free
Library of Philadelphia, and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, with additional
support from the Tacony CDC. The above article has been adapted by materials provided by the
Mural Arts Program.
21st Libraries Initiative: Free Library of Philadelphia, Tacony Branch renovation and
The Tacony LAB would not be happening if not for the dramatic renovations in progress at the
Tacony branch of the Free Library system. The original library, constructed in 1906 with a grant
from Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic fund, has undergone several renovations over the decades.
This two-year project, however, will be bolder. In addition to interior and exterior renovation
work, a large addition to the rear of the original building will expand the types of programming
that the library can incorporate. New features will include an informal “living room” space for
socializing and special activities; designated areas for children, teenagers, and even toddlers
in Pre-K; and one of the Free Library system’s first small business resource centers, for which
the Tacony CDC will be a valuable partner. The Tacony branch closed for renovations in May 2016
and is scheduled to reopen in Spring of 2018.
The Tacony branch renovations
are led by the Free Library of Philadelphia, with support from the Free Library of Philadelphia
Foundation and its donors.
MaST Community Charter School, Tacony Campus
Tacony CDC, along with the Civic Association, has advocated for the proposed Tacony campus of the
Charter School. The project will convert a brownfield into a 19-acre, K-12
academic campus. It is part of a larger effort to redevelop the Disston Saw Works compound into
a mixed-use compound that provides jobs, amenities, and greatly enhanced waterfront access to
Tacony and its environs.
The MaST II campus will feature two academic buildings and a large sports complex that highlight
the site’s industrial history (which will also be featured in the school’s curricula). Plans
currently call for phased construction, with a fully operational school in place by 2023.
Lardner’s Point Park
Tacony CDC and its board members supported efforts to redevelop the Lardner’s Point Park site
from the very beginning. Once an abandoned brownfield site, Lardner’s
Point Park is now a
“living shoreline" and wonderful passive recreation site along the Delaware Access. The park provides much-needed
access to the waterfront, has restored fragile habitats for multiples types of wildlife, and
will serve as a trailhead for the in-process Kensington & Tacony trail. The K&T Trail, when
completed, will join dozens of other trail segments along the Delaware River to form
Philadelphia’s portion of the East Coast Greenway.
The redevelopment of Lardner’s
Point Park was led by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Delaware River City
Corporation, along with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation, the City of Philadelphia’s
Department of Parks & Recreation, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy, among others.
Philadelphia2035 North Delaware District Plan and the Magee Extension
Tacony CDC participated in the planning process for Philadelphia2035’s North Delaware
Comprehensive Plan. One of the plan’s
Focus Areas is the former Disston Saw Works compound, much of which is now contaminated and/or
vacant. One of the major interventions proposed is the extension of Magee Avenue across State
Road to the waterfront. This would increase connectivity between the neighborhood, the proposed
developments at the Disston site, and the River’s trail system. The so-called Magee Extension
will also involve the beautification of portions of Magee Avenue as well as the introduction of
storm-water maintenance systems.
The North Delaware District Plan
process was led by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC).