In Our Back Yard Under I-95 Thrives A Lucrative Nonprofit

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Parking under I-95 proves money maker. I-95, Which cuts through S. Phila. elevated, shelters a nonprofit caretaker that operates mostly in the shadows while raising dollars.

Parking under I-95 proves money maker. I-95, Which cuts through S. Phila. elevated, shelters a nonprofit caretaker that operates mostly in the shadows while raising dollars. Photo by Eldon Graham.

by Eldon Graham
Tens of thousands of people drive alongside ILMAC’s work every day — or even park on it – without really noticing it.

Some Philadelphia-based organizations do more business behind the scenes than many people realize. Among them is Interstate Land Management Corp., a nonprofit joint venture between the City and State located in South Philadelphia that manages and maintains the federal land adjacent to I-95 near the Delaware River waterfront. Its address is 1837 S. 2nd St.

ILMAC keeps a low public profile. ILMAC’s Treasurer and Board Member Andrew Sacksteder describes the company as “a semi-public corporation.” Other organizations such as the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, which has had dealings with ILMAC in the past, and Queen Village Neighbors Association are, however, prominent in Center City and South Philadelphia, as well as elsewhere across the city.

ILMAC typically sees revenues and expenses of around $600,000 a year.

Executive Director of ILMAC is Edward Kirlin, whose job description as is not entirely clear. His job description and duties are neither listed nor explicitly stated but according to ILMAC’s financials, he is the only one working full-time in the organization. This comes as no surprise because when calls have been placed to the organization they have not been received but greeted with a recorded voice message.

Kirlin himself describes the ILMAC operations and procedure as “loosey-goosey.” The current chairman is Dr. Jim Moylan, who could not be reached for comment.

ILMAC is one of the few federal organizations residing in Philadelphia with oversight along the central Delaware River. The other two organizations are the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Coast Guard. ILMAC was established in 1990 and has been maintaining public land since.

ILMAC maintains the land alongside and underneath I-95 through Center City down to South Philadelphia. ILMAC utilizes rents from reuse of I-95’s right of way to pay for ongoing maintenance and extended beautification efforts.

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Leafy greensward beside I-95 is maintained by ILMAC, as are the community parking spaces underneath. Photo by Eldon Graham.

In the past, PHS was hired as a subcontractor with ILMAC. They oversaw the day-to-day maintenance of this land, like fence work, painting and litter pickup, until 2014. PHS’s contract was not renewed and ILMAC bid out the contract to other subcontractors in the area.

Although ILMAC’s public perception is not abundantly known to the citizens of Philadelphia and neighboring counties, its work does have a far reach. As Sacksteder states, ILMAC has extended its business reach with the land they rent out.

The organization raises funds for maintenance through parking revenues. There are approximately 200 parking lots variously located across from Penn’s Landing, stretching all the way down to the Delaware River Waterfront Corp.

Not all the parking lots generate revenue. Some are operated to accommodate free-use parking.
“We have 38 parcels and multiple commercial users” in the area below I-95, Sacksteder says. Society Hill is one of the neighborhoods with 64 parking spaces on Front Street. Sacksteder stated there are currently “13 constituent community groups involved.”

Queen Village Community Parking Lot is a service of Queen Village organizations, providing low-cost monthly parking for residents. Queen Village leases the parking space from ILMAC and rents out parking spaces as a service. It currently has two parcels for use.

Its overall goal is to cater to the residents of Queen Village and strengthen the community. The fee for Queen Village’s services is $105 per month for a parking space. Queen Village exists as a hub to build a better community for the residents in the neighborhood. Queen Village is just one of the organizations benefiting from the operations at ILMAC.

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