After an energizing meeting Saturday, May 14, The Wissahickon East Project (WEP) is preparing for the establishment of the first upper East Mt. Airy Community Park.

The meeting was attended by 45 excited neighbors who left with long to-do lists and strong commitment to revitalizing the neglected land. The park will be located in the Cresheim Creek valley at the corner of Woodbrook Lane and Anderson Avenue. This achievement comes after 12 years of struggle to stop housing development on the six acre Cresheim Creek bed.

Nick Kelsh, leads a small group at the Wissahickon East Project Community Planning Meeting.

The community plans to build trails and make an oasis for native plants, wildlife, and a place for all community members to enjoy themselves.

“We have a wonderful group and a wonderful mission.” said Arlene Bennett, WEP treasurer and long-time community activist. “We are on a roll, and we will accomplish it all.”

WEP expects City Council to accept the land into the park system by mid June 2011. WEP’s work is strongly supported by Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Michael Diberadinis, Deputy Director of Fairmount Park Mark Foch, the Friends of the Wissahickon and local elected officials and community organizations.

WEP believes six acres is a small amount of land but will greatly add in the long-term vision of enhancing the Cresheim Creek corridor. It is also a cornerstone project in the Philadelphia Green 2015 initiative (to add 500 acres of new park land and make it accessible to all Philadelphia communities) and the protection of the Wissahickon Watershed and our drinking water. Some of the land is expected to be available for recreation by the end of 2011. The park-building work will continue until the community’s vision of a restored, protected park is reached.

The Wissahickon East Project (WEP) is a nonprofit volunteer group of community members whose first goal was to stop housing development on six acres of the last remaining wild Cresheim Creek land. WEP was able to save the land and convinced the owner/developer (DeSouza-Brown) to place a no-building easement on the land, held by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. Future goals for WEP include supporting the land transfer to Fairmount Park in early Summer 2011 and finally building the new community park.