ULI Philadelphia Blog

ULI Philadelphia TAP Issues Recommendations for Open Space at Friends Southwestern Burial Ground in Upper Darby

How do you reconcile the interests of soccer-loving neighborhood children looking for more fields, a Greek Orthodox Church seeking more parking, and a community seeking to preserve its historic burial grounds in Upper Darby? ULI Philadelphia tackled this issue in a recently conducted Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) that sheds light on how open space at The Friends Southwestern Burial Ground (Friends SWBG) in Upper Darby could best maximize community and economic benefits.

Located in densely-populated Upper Darby Township across from the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Friends SWBG has been operating at a deficit and occasionally leases an “unoccupied” corner to the Church for parking, while also serving as a passive recreational site for this diverse community. Upper Darby Township and the Friends Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, manager of Friends SWBG, commissioned the ULI Philadelphia TAP to explore land use possibilities that would satisfy the community need for recreational space while providing sustainable financing to maintain the burial grounds.

“With so little open space available in Upper Darby, it is critical for key stakeholder groups to work together and explore solutions that can benefit the entire community,” said David M. Ricci, Chairman of ULI Philadelphia. “This project is a terrific example of how public and private organizations and individuals can collaborate to create positive land use solutions that are both socially and economically responsible.”

Read the full report here.

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