Unauthorized excavation occurred this week at Triangle Park

On Monday and Tuesday this week, some excavation began on Triangle Park, the plot of land at 601 Christian St. While it seemed as though there could be some hope for the future of this property, apparently that excavation was a complete accident from a contractor who began digging up the wrong property.

Triangle Park
Photo of the excavation by Martha Rich

Triangle Park has been in flux for a while now. The park was closed down in 2013, despite efforts from the neighborhood to keep this as a permanent green space.

Triangle Park
Photo by Martha Rich

Here’s a statement about the excavation from the Friends of Triangle Park Facebook group:

We have determined that the excavation on the site that occurred yesterday (Monday, March 9) and today was a mistake, was unauthorized by either the owner or Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) or by anyone at all. There were no permits issued by the City and Philadelphia Police (PPD) were called by me and by the owner to force a halt to the excavation.

The contractor claims to have made a mistake in the address of the site he was excavating and that is under investigation. Of more importance is where the dirt was taken and disposed of, as it is likely contaminated (per earlier PA DEP tests of the site).

All of this will be resolved in due course and the owner may pursue damages against the contractor. PA DEP will conduct a visit and site inspection to determine what remedial steps must be undertaken.

Friends of Triangle Park also made a statement saying that the contractor who did this digging will be replacing the seven truckloads of dirt that were excavated from the property this week.

From what we’ve heard, the lot is also for sale. This lot was formerly the location of a gas station, so there were concerns about the quality of the soil. We hear from a source that the owner has been in the process of doing environmental remediation, with the state DEP testing the soil for about a year now.

This property is zoned as CMX-2, so it could be used as a residential mixed-use.

What are your hopes for the future of this property?

6 thoughts on “Unauthorized excavation occurred this week at Triangle Park

  • March 11, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    This “mistake” killed a couple trees, too.

  • March 11, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Good article and spot on. The park is still a hope for the residents and the hundred or so “Friends of Triangle Park” (FOTP). We are asking the City to purchase the lot, subject to a green light from the PA DEP that the area is safe for a passive park with no digging below 6-10 inches for plantings and no fruit or vegetables to be grown there.

    FOTP has a FB page and we ask all interested to sign on; when we get the lot back, we will be investing in a community resource and will need as many people to help as we can round up! THX Joel Palmer for the Friends of Triangle Park

    • March 12, 2015 at 9:02 am

      No digging below 6″-10″?? Seriously, if it’s that contaminated it needs to CORRECTLY cleaned up before it’s used as any kind of a park. To say otherwise is extremely short sighted and selfish.

      • March 13, 2015 at 10:56 am

        Kind of a non-issue now. Per PADEP regulations, the contractor is going to have to fill that hole in with “Clean Fill”, aka soil that meets residential health standards. Especially if there are any plans to use the lot for a residential purpose, including as a park.

  • March 14, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    According to philly.com, FoTP are NOT supported by the property owner. They squatted his lot which is why he put up the fence. Why would they be releasing a statement about a property they been banned from??

  • March 16, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Er… yeah, read the article, The “park” was “closed” because the people had no right being there! Just because there is an empty lot doesn’t mean you can take it over. I could do the same to my neighbors yard, would that be ok??

Comments are closed.