As Executive Director Tom Branigan prepares to retire, the nonprofit overseeing the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway’s implementation is making some big changes.
Generocity | By Julie Zeglen
Delaware River City Corporation (DRCC) has been been steadily connecting River Wards residents to their waterfront for the past decade.
The nonprofit is tasked with facilitating the implementation of the North Delaware Riverfront Greenway, an 11-mile network of trails, parks and riverfront features connecting Port Richmond and Torresdale in the Northeast.
Sixty percent of that trail system has been built since Tom Branigan joined DRCC as its first executive director in January 2011, including Lardners Point Park in Tacony and the K&T Trail in Frankford.
“In that time, we did a lot,” he said.
Branigan, 65, is planning to retire this spring — but he’d retired once before, after nearly four decades as an engineer with the City of Philadelphia Streets Department.
To be clear: “I’m not leaving because I don’t want to do the work anymore, but because I want to spend more time with my family,” he said via phone last week.
At the time Branigan joined DRCC, his staff was made up of himself and one part-timer, and he said he spent his first few years as executive director building financial and political support for the Greenway project.
William Penn Foundation, for instance, with its watershed protection funding priority, funded a DRCC-led community engagement project to inform design for a forthcoming city-owned riverfront park in Bridesburg, currently a 10-acre “wasteland” that will eventually feature tiered outdoor seating, passive play areas and a stage, Branigan said.
Now that construction of the Greenway is well underway, the focus of the organization (now with six full-time staffers) has shifted to stewardship and programming to engage the public.
The org is also getting a new name in March: Riverfront North Partnership. (Branigan there had historically some confusion amongst the public about why a “corporation” was overseeing the development.) The North Delaware Riverfront Greenway, too, will be renamed, as Riverfront North.
Branigan said he’ll leave sometime next month, depending on when his successor is picked. Fairmount Ventures is managing the executive search; check out the job description here.