Changes are coming this summer to the intersection of Frankford Avenue and Sterner Street that involve new lighting, pop-up vendor spaces, and an orchard.
For the residents of Kensington, those changes can’t come soon enough.
What ideally should be a welcoming gateway to the neighborhood is instead a collection of unsightly, vacant lots next to the freight rail viaduct. The site has long been considered an unsafe, neighborhood nuisance for more than 30 years. Finally, in 2014, an opportunity arose to transform it from being a barrier to the Kensington into a community asset.
Neighbors identified this intersection as a high priority site in the 2014 North of Lehigh Neighborhood Plan. But it wasn’t until 2016 when the Delaware Valley Green Building Council teamed up with the New Kensington CDC (NKCDC) that the idea of the Frankford Gateway became a reality.
With the help of landscape architecture firm Apiary Studio, NKCDC and residents came up with plans to bring a cane fruit orchard, native planting and Gingko trees, and a pervious parking area to the unsightly site.
After months of crowdsourced fundraising, the DVGBC and NKCDC surpassed their goal of $10,000 on April 14. That money will go toward materials and services, and the NKCDC is asking for volunteers to help build-out the gateway on June 10.
Here are some site plans that provide a birds-eye view of the new-and-improved Frankford Gateway. Andrew Goodman, NKCDC’s community engagement director, said that these are draft concepts and are subject to change, since the organization is still planning multiple rounds of community outreach and input before the June 10 planting day.