It’s an eyesore that many motorists traveling to Philly have had to deal with for 30 years. It’s a pile of crushed cars located at the end of the Platt Bridge at 26th Street and one of the first sights on the way in from the airport.
“It doesn’t give us a good look,” said one woman. “It’s horrible!” said another.
Joe Balzano, the president of Eastern Metal, the company which owns the pile, says that while others might hate it, it’s a necessary evil, as it provides 50 union jobs.
“What people call unsightly, I call jobs,” he said.
The most vocal opponents of the scrap metal pile are residents who live at the high end town homes built nearby about eight years ago.
“They have explosions when they crash the cars that actually shake the whole house,” said one homeowner. “It’s so loud, everybody wakes up,” said another.
Taking all of the complaints into consideration, Eastern Metal and the Health Department agreed to enclose the car shredder in order to stop the loud booms.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said one homeowner.
But it won’t be enough for those who are sick of seeing the pile. City officials say there is nothing to stop the company from continuously adding to the heap of scrap metal.
“The founding fathers of Philadelphia should have chosen where they put zoning differently,” Balzano said. “The technology is 30 years old. That’s why we’re trying to move to put in new technology which would eliminate the piles.”
Balzano says for 10 years he invested $25 million to move the pile after the state promised to help. That hasn’t happened however, due to deals falling through and the struggling economy.
Philadelphia councilman Kenyatta Johnson says that if Eastern Metal wants to move the pile, he’ll try to help. The company says however that at this point they can’t afford to move. According to Balzano, the pile will stay there for the “foreseeable future,” meaning that drivers will continue to receive a very unpleasant welcome to Philadelphia.