Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jul 2017
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2017 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Julia Terruso


Cleanup of the Gurney Street railroad gulch in Fairhill, a campground
for heroin users and a dumping site for needles and garbage, didn't
start Monday as was initially planned.

The city came to an agreement with Conrail last month to fence and
clean up the property. A contract calls for work to start by July 31,
but Conrail planned to start work Monday.

Jocelyn Hill, a spokeswoman for Conrail, said that fabricating the
fencing that will secure the area took longer than anticipated and
that the company had hired a second contractor to speed things up. She
said the work still will begin before July 31.

"Yes, we're behind where we hoped, but we're not delayed," Hill said.
"This is a massive construction project."

Hill said it was paramount that the city's bridge fencing go up at the
same time as Conrail's fencing to seal off the area and prevent
dumping in areas Conrail clears.

"It's a hiccup more than any kind of crisis," Managing Director
Michael DiBerardinis said. "I don't think there's any indication that
there will be a delay beyond what we agreed on in the signed agreement."

The work is aimed at closing the open-air markets that flourish in the
surrounding area as well as the tracks where users go to shoot up. The
city has said it will add police officers to the area and work to
connect addicts there with human-services agencies.

Under the agreement, Conrail will get rid of the needles, clear
vegetation and trash from around the tracks, and pave over the area.
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