Major news last night was the appearance of Frank Bennett who has taken title to 4712 Castor Avenue and is in the process of restoring it to its former grandeur. Mr. Bennett intends to occupy the home with his family and has taken on a formidable task. Work is underway at this time but on Saturday there will be an open house between noon and 4PM for those who would like to see the property.
Michael Ogden made a presentation on behalf of the Bridge, a residential treatment facility for adolescent boys between 14 and 18. They are looking for community support for their proposed move to the 1100 block of Adams Avenue. They presently occupy a building at 8400 Pine Road in Fox Chase on the Medical Missionary Sisters grounds. That building will be taken over by the sisters for a residence for nuns in retirement so the Bridge must relocate. A new facility would be built on that hill on Adams Avenue and the Bridge would have a long term lease.
Ogden made his case to the audience and it is clear that they run a very good program. The issues raised by the audience were of security since this is not a lock down facility. It is run like a school. If a kid wants to run away, he can. Ogden stated that no violent offenders are in their program. Jorge Santana (Tony Payton’s Chief of Staff) pointed out that the property now is frequented by drug users who are more likely to be criminals than the residents of the school that would hopefully replace the empty lot. Two young men, residents of the Bridge, spoke eloquently of their life changing experience in the program.
No vote was taken regarding the Civics’s support for the Bride at last night’s meeting. It is a tough call. Most residents are opposed to more social service programs moving into the neighborhood. However, the audience last night seemed to be favorably impressed with the quality of the Bridge.