Business, Miscellaneous

NewCourtland Life Center to Open at Roosevelt Plaza

Posted on 02 July 2015

Amador Roman meets the medical requirements of living in a nursing home. However the 83 year old retired cook prefers instead to remain in his apartment on Red Lion Road and get his daily medical attention and social needs met at a LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) Center. He is picked up each day at 8:00 a.m. and transported to the NewCourtland LIFE Center on Allegheny Ave. in North Philadelphia.

Until now, there has been no LIFE Center in Northeast Philadelphia but that situation will soon change. NewCourtland, which currently serves North and Northwest Philadelphia, was designated several months ago by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to also service low-income seniors through the LIFE program in the Northeast. The company has begun building out space for its new center in the Roosevelt Plaza at the Boulevard and Harbison Street in Mayfair, with plans to open by the end of the Fall.

Like NewCourtland’s LIFE Centers in North Philadelphia and Germantown, the new Northeast location will offer healthcare and supportive services to seniors who are 55 or older and in need of nursing home care but who, like Roman, prefer to remain in their own home.

Roman, a native of Puerto Rico who worked at the famous Palumbo’s night club in South Philadelphia for 22 years, says he loves the people and social activities at the center. He’s a whiz at the checker board! But he does look forward to a shorter commute once the Boulevard location opens.

“I am the first one they pick up in the morning and they make four or five stops on the way in,” he said. “It’s no problem, but going to a LIFE Center in the Northeast will be better.”

Amador Roman enjoys a game of checkers with a friend

Amador Roman enjoys a game of checkers with a friend

Healthcare services provided at the new LIFE Center will include: primary care; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; and scheduled care by specialists.

Supportive services will include: adult day services; programs and activities; meals; and counseling by social workers.

NewCourtland provides transportation to and from the Center and even to and from specialist appointments outside of the center, when needed. In addition, NewCourtland offers home care and will make home modifications to accommodate health-related issues.

NewCourtland had operated seven nursing homes in Philadelphia until 2011 when the company determined that more and more seniors wanted to remain in their homes and get their needs met in the community. So the company sold six of its seven nursing homes to focus more of its time, talent and resources on keeping seniors as independent as possible for as long as possible. Though for some frail seniors, a nursing home remains the best option, it costs the state significantly less to support seniors under the LIFE Center model.

The new Northeast LIFE Center will include 10,000 square feet on space.  Watch the Gazette for more information on a final date for the opening.

About NewCourtland Senior Services

NewCourtland Senior Services is a Philadelphia-based, non-profit organization that provides thousands of low-income seniors with affordable housing, healthcare, and supportive services which are customized to meet each individual’s unique needs. To learn more, visit or call 1-888-530-4913.

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Civics, Meetings and Events

Frankford Civic Meeting

Posted on 01 July 2015

The Frankford Civic Association meets Thursday night, July 2nd at 7 PM at St. Marks Church, 4442 Frankford Avenue.

Betsy Baxter will attend to update the community on the renovations at the Library.

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This letter has been looking for its recipient for 61 years

Posted on 01 July 2015

For a few years now, I’ve been torturing visitors to my house with the myriad possibilities that could be contained in a letter that I once found in my house, postmarked August 17th, 1954, which never found its recipient.



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While renovating my house on the 1100 block of Foulkrod St, my father and I came across a letter behind the baseboard of a partition wall that we were taking apart to reconnect the first and second floor living spaces.


my father taking apart the partition wall

my father taking apart the partition wall


From the first time I saw it, I considered the letter an artifact of history and the house. And brought it out for visitors to touch and marvel at. And seemly each of those visitors that held it, couldn’t seem to understand why I hadn’t opened it. But for each one who wondered, I dared them to do it. I turned on an inviting smile and tried to coach them into it. But I got no takers. They knew the message wasn’t for them.

For a long time, judging by the individual locks on the bedrooms of my house, and the oral history on the block, it was once a boarding house. And countless people must have travelled through there. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could find the letter’s owner, or heir.

And life went on. And I outgrew the house, or should I say, the 5 bedroom house(and cleaning it) outgrew me. And so this past march, I passed the house onto new owners, a family of three girls, a mother, a father and a baby boy on the way. That massive place was better suited to them, than a bachelor like me.

This letter was never mine. And as I started the process of leaving the scene of its discovery, I started thinking about finding where it really belonged. I was planning on searching for the owner.

I wish I would have written this post before I started searching, so I could fill it with worries about the perils of time and how people and families drift from place to place. And that it was likely I’d never find anyone. I would have liked to have built up my mission into some Homeric epic, where I battled records both paper and digital. But I didn’t count on Facebook, nor that I could search the recipient’s last name, and that they would ended up knowing a girl I went to grade school with.

So the search is over before it began. And I’m passing this letter back to it’s owner.

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Business, Meetings and Events

Frankford Needs a Supermarket

Posted on 29 June 2015

There has been some talk about the Thriftway closing next year.  Rite Aid Has owned the property for several years and has opted to exercise its right to not renew the lease.  They plan to demolish the existing structure and build a new Rite Aid.  This will leave Frankford without a supermarket.

That is a big story in Frankford but it is only part of a larger picture.  The area around the FTC (Frankford Transportation Center) has been identified as the place most likely to attract developers.  They are the people who build things like shopping centers and housing.  The CDC has walked through the neighborhood with some of these guys and they all say the FTC is the place to start.  The CDC does not invest money to get these things done; they get developers interested in doing them.  That is part of their job.

So when news that SEPTA was going to do a construction project in the 5100 block of Frankford Avenue it sounded like an opportunity.  The project is to build a backup control center and also a break room for SEPTA FTC employees.  It would all on that empty space between Frankfod Ave. and Griscon between Pratt and Dyre.

Meetings were held, discussions between SEPTA and the CDC took place and some form of understanding that the community’s need for a supermarket at that location would be included in the project.

At the Frankford Business and Professional Association meeting on June 23, a SEPTA representative revealed that they are about to break ground on the project and there is no provision for space for a supermarket.

Kim Washington, The Executive Director of the CDC, went into action.  The SEPTA board was having a public meeting on Thursday, June 25th.  With only 2 days’ notice, she got 35 residents who agreed to attend the meeting with her. They met at the CDC office on Griscom Street all wearing pink shirts with the words “Stop Executing very Poor Thoughtless Action”.

The meeting began at 3PM and at 3:30 it was adjourned.  Washington rose to object saying she had to address the board.  She spoke for about 6 minutes which you will find at this link.

What followed was an hour long discussion between Francis Kelly, Assistant General Manager of Public & Government Affairs and Kim Washington, Gary McLaughlin, Jennifer Powell-Folks and Nashid Edwards speaking for Frankford.  The Frankford folks did a great job of making their case.IMG_1591

SEPTA says they cannot change their plans because they have already awarded contracts, Federal funding is approved for this location and project and any change could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make.

Frankford argues that SEPTA is in this situation because of its own mistakes and should do the right thing to correct them.

SEPTA asks if the Rite Aid site is big enough for a Rite Aid and a supermarket.  It is big enough for the buildings but would not have room for parking.

SEPTA asks if the property on 5100 block of Griscom (presently employee parking between Griscom and Penn).  The property is but the streets are residential and not big enough for tractor trailer delivery.

Frankford proposes that the project be redesigned to make it a 2 story building with a supermarket on the ground floor and SEPTA use of the second floor.  SEPTA says this would be a major redesign that would cost a lot of money.

Frankford proposes that the SEPTA building go over on the lot with the new Rite Aid.  There is enough room for those two buildings.  SEPTA says the funding is for the building to go where it is planned to go and changing it will cost a fortune.

The lack of communication with the Frankford community is the real heart of the matter.  A SEPTA representative attends the Frankford Business and Professional Association meetings routinely but SEPTA maintains that they met their obligation of notifying the community by advising Philadelphia City Council and posting public notices in the newspapers about the project.  That does not sound like a solid community partnership.

While you might expect that from a corporation in the private sector, SEPTA is a public agency.

There was no resolution at the meeting but they did commit to meet again.  Further news will be forthcoming.

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Meetings and Events

Coming up in Frankford 6/27 to 7/4/2015

Posted on 26 June 2015

  • Trails Through Time: Walking History Tour in Tacony Creek Park – Sat, June 27, 9am – 11am  Tacony Creek Park, Fishers Ln Gateway, I Street and Ramona Ave.  – Join TTF Watershed for a guided history walk along the TCP trail, led Bob Thomas of Philadelphia Parks Alliance and local historian, Fred Maurer. Learn about some of the fascinating sites and happenings of the historic TTF creek and watershed. For more info, contact Robin at 215-744-1853 or
  • 15th District PDAC Gun Buy Back – Sat, June 27, 10am – 2pm  Engine 38 Fire house, 4931 Magee Ave. – Turn in a rifle, shot gun or hand gun (no questions asked) and get a $50 Shop n Bag gift card.
  • Celebrate Your Park! Discover Your Creek! Summer Block Parties – Tue, June 30, 5pm – 7pm, I St. and Ramona Ave, 4528 I Street – Kick off the Summer with TTF Watershed and enjoy FREE family-friendly activities, water ice, guided nature walks and bike rides– bring your bike for a free tune-up! Rain date: Tue, June 30. For more info, contact Doryán at 215-744-1853 or
  • Frankford Civic Association Meeting –  Thu, July 2, 7pm – 8pm,  St Mark’s Church Frankford, 4442 Frankford Avenue

For more information on these events and everything else going on in Frankford, check out the community calendar at this link.

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Meetings and Events

Gun Buy Back

Posted on 26 June 2015

Tomorrow the 15th District PDAC is holding a gun buy back, sponsored by Barbera’s on the Boulevard.  The location is Engine 38 at 4931 Magee Avenue, from 10AM to 2PM.  Turn in a hand gun, rifle or shotgun and get a $50 gift card to a supermarket.  No questions asked about the gun, just bring it in.

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Frankford to Get Big Bellies

Posted on 25 June 2015

We are excited to announce that Frankford Avenue is getting BigBellies! Over the next few weeks, the Streets Department will be removing the old wire basket trash cans along the Avenue, between Church and Bridge, and will be replacing them with approximately 35 Big Belly trash cans and 15 recyclers.
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Powered by solar energy, the BigBellies compact the trash, allowing them to hold up to five times as much as the old trashcans.  The switch to BigBellies will help keep our sidewalks and streets cleaner while also improving the aesthetics of Frankford Avenue.

A Big Thank You To Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and Deputy Streets Commissioner Donald Carlton for your advocacy and support in keeping our commercial corridor clean and welcoming!!

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Meetings and Events

Last Northeast EPIC Stakeholders Meeting Tonight

Posted on 25 June 2015

EPIC’s last community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 25th.

However, the Frankford CDC would like to continue to have open community discussions that address quality of life issues in Frankford and that keep residents want to continue to inform residents of resources and changes within their neighborhood.

As a result, we have partnered with Turning Points for Children and State Representative Jason Dawkins to hold monthly community meetings.

Please make note that the dates and times have not changed; however, locations for these meetings will circulate around the community.

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Miscellaneous, News

Great Storm of 2015

Posted on 23 June 2015

As we sit in the dark, I might as well post these pictures from the storm tonight.  That big tree in Northwood Park was struck by lightning.

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Business, history, Meetings and Events

Development Opportunity in the Heart of Historic Frankford

Posted on 23 June 2015

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will be offering 5 properties in Frankford for auction on July 29th at 2:-00 PM.  They are the former Sankofa Freedom Academy/St. Joachim School. St. Joachim Convent. Sankofa Freedom Academy on Ruan Street and two vacant lots used for parking on Ruan and Salem Streets.  This is a link to the auction information.

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