Korman, long active in Philadelphia as a builder of apartment and home developments, has run into a group of Eastwick citizens who say no to their newest effort to develop an apartment tract around 84th Street bordering the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge.
This group includes the Friends of The Bird Refuge, who are truly troubled because the federal wildlife preserve, soon to be partially uprooted to allow for airport expansion, will suffer further destruction if Korman developers receive zoning approval to develop a 135-acre parcel of green space bordering on Lindbergh Boulevard and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
A Korman delegation, led by John Korman, after making its presentation to turn the site into 772 rental apartments in 51 two-story units, found the over 125 residents in attendance in almost unanimous opposition.
Many attendees recall previous Korman promises which never materialized when that firm built hundreds of homes and apartments in Eastwick. Some at the meeting recalled how the City condemned 2,500 acres of land displacing about 10,000 residents out of their homes, while promising new houses for those displaced residents. Matthew Stover added an additional opposing force as he represented wildlife advocates, saying, “Wildlife species have nowhere else to go — and the construction will hurt them. The City Council plan to allocate Refuge lands from an old Oscar Mayer site is not good for the migratory birds.”
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, in whose 2nd Dist. includes the Eastwick site, heard the opposition loud and clear. Some of their concerns included a long suffering Eastwick problem, flooding. They told Johnson the devleopment is located in a flood plain identified by FEMA. They also claimed Korman would literally “steal the property”, since, under a contract with the City, Korman can pick up the property at a price fixed back in the 1950s. The site has an estimated value of $7 million. They also cited traffic problems and occupancy increases as detrimental to the existing homeowners, as well as the Wildlife Refuge.