In 2017, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) was funded by the William Penn Foundation to advance planning and development of a trail along the Richmond Industrial Track Rail Corridor in the Kensington, Fairhill and Port Richmond communities. A $1.8 million corridor cleanup by Conrail, the adjacent rail road, with the City of Philadelphia created an opening for trail development to become a transformative factor in the creation of related neighborhood improvement efforts, blight remediation and public health goals.
In 2018, RTC wanted to further explore the concept of a trail and completed an initial study of the corridor which analyzed previous planning efforts and transportation corridors within this focus area, engaged community-level stakeholders and ultimately provided a series of recommendations for advancing a trail along a 1.87-mile corridor between Richmond and American streets, connecting key neighborhoods and neighborhood assets to larger trail and transportation systems.
A one-block pilot trail was constructed in 2018 by local partner Hispanic Association of Contractors & Enterprises (HACE). However, trail building is a long process that can span decades. Completing this trail connection will require the ongoing efforts and advocacy from many area residents, civic groups, city, state and county agencies and nonprofit organizations. Future years of involvement by RTC will include exploration of funding and partnerships which will support trail development as well as additional planning and wider community engagement.