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New Frankford Community Y Stakeholders Meeting

Felicia Richardson of New Frankford Developers Presenting

Friday night my father and I attended a dinner meeting at Gallo’s Friday night for a presentation on the new plan for what is going to happen to the New Frankford Community Y.  Among the attendies were democratic ward leader Dan Savage, State Rep Tony Payton Jr and his chief of staff Jorge Santana, representatives from state senator Christine Tartaglione, and counselwoman Sanchez.  Francis Clay and Barry Howell from the Frankford and Northwood Civics were also in attendance.

After an optimistic initial presentation, discussions of the Y’s future turned contentious and questions of legality were raised when the development team proposed to turn the non profit center into a for profit business, with the Northwood Civic voting last month to file a suit in Orphan’s Court to see the past financial records of the center.

The new proposal, (the main portion is linked at the bottom) has the Y staying a non profit with an infusion of funds from the for profit company New Frankford Developers, which owns an apartment building on the block.  Exclusive the benefits to the community, NFD will profit by the management fee they will charge, along with intangibles such as  having better neighborhood amenities to offer their tenants.

To ease neighborhood local fears, the Y will have an advisory board composed of members of the community and neighborhood associations and also noted they would not be opposed to signing a written community commitment agreement.  As Jorge Santana pointed out, it wouldn’t be a legally binding document, but it would list, in simple terms, the commitment by the Y towards the community it serves.

When questions opened up, there were still issues toward the financial viability of the project, Tony Payton noted that the proposed budget had a high percentage of operating funds from government programs.  Presentation leader Felicia Richardson said that it was a best case situation and that funding for many programs  had not yet been secured.  She said that the minimum opening programs would be the day care and computer centers and that they’d build out from there, she also noted that they’ve already secured a grant writer.  Also raised was skepticism of how this plan would work while Terry Tobin was unable to keep operations afloat before.  Richardson responded that she has composed a team, while Terry was a one man show.

Tons of other stuff to note:

  • Apparently being defensive about a rumor I personally started on the message board about them turning the facility into a teen party mecca, they promised no disco, only family style parties and pool parties
  • Barry Howell brought up that they’ve lost a lot of credibility with the Northwood Civic over the financial records issues, but that stated clearly he’s known Terry Tobin a long time and doesn’t believe Terry Tobin was involved with any financial improprieties.  Ms Richardson welcomed Mr Howell to investigate the records
  • they plan on renaming the Y after the late Edward Becker, the former federal appeals judge that once sat on the board.  They stated they had already approached his family for permission

The meeting ended well, all parties expressed cautious optimism of the future, with the presenters pledging a fresh start.

New Frankford Y Proposal [PDF]

17 thoughts on “New Frankford Community Y Stakeholders Meeting

  1. I was not able to open the PDF file. Isn’t this the same group that was interested in the Y before?

    I would love to see the Y open again. However if they are going to have youth programs I would suggest good security inside the Y and in the parking lot. This area is a “hot spot” area for crime.

  2. Fixed the PDF link issue.

    They actually brought their security guy and he talked a about enhancing the lighting around there and cameras and stuff.

    It was a long meeting, maybe I can followup with them about security.

  3. New Frankford Developers, LLC – I did a google search and came up with nothing.

    I thought we (the people of Frankford) wanted to discourage “recovery homes”. These people want to offer them “recreation”? There must be a lot of funding available for recovering addicts. Some people must be making mucho bucks off of recovering addicts and Frankford is the place where it’s happening. I had a feeling Mr. Bannister was involved in the “rehabilation business”.

  4. That was actually brought up by Francis Clay, Frankford civic pres. They said they weren’t going to offer any more services to the recovery houses than was already offered under the original Y. They vehemently denied they would focus on servicing recovery patients. It seemed the audience was satisfied with their explanation.

  5. I read the PDF file (thanks for fixing that) and it sure sounds like they are offering services to the recovery homes. They knew exactly how many recovery homes there are in Frankford. Sounds to me like they focused on recovery homes. All the other programs they mentioned were programs that were at the Y and failed to keep the Y afloat. Terry Tobin ran the Y then and he will be running this community center. Nothing they are proposing is new except the emphasis on providing recreation for recovery home residents.

    New Frankford Developers, LLC are outsiders that want to come into our neighborhood to make money. I don’t care if they want to make money. The questions is: how do they plan on making money in Frankford? Will they make money by keeping Frankford a government funded neighborhood?

  6. I wouldn’t totally say they’re outsiders, they own the apartment complex next door. I’ve seen their working budget though, and it seems like they are planning to do a lot of grant writing.

  7. I’m confused. If The Frankford Developers, LLC are a for profit business how can they request grants?

  8. The community center will be requesting grants. The management of NFD will be sitting on the non profits board I suppose.

  9. NFD are not listed as the owners of the apartment complex next to the Y.

  10. I’m not sure, but I think the BRT’s website is old, I already emailed Ms Richardson looking to find out all of their Frankford holdings.

  11. The BRT’s website does show new ownership on Leiper St. as of Jan. 2010 for another property. The NFD claims they bought that apartment complex prior to 2010.

    The letterhead of NFD shows a P.O. Box in Darby and phone numbers that look like cell phones. Most legal businesses have an address, not a post office box, and office land line telephones.

    Please folks, lets really investigate these people.

  12. Actually, my perfectly legit business has no office or landline as do many others. It is not nessasary to have that burden for many types of business. The Y always had group meetings for recovery house residents and non recovery house residents alike. The Y’s financial audits are and have always been available for review by the public as are all non profit’s annual audits. No law suit to see them was needed and why Barry Howel is trying to cause a problem I don’t know, seems like a waste of time and money when he can just see the audits for free. As for being outsiders Mr Bannister is the nephew of a local elected official (Chaka) and the records of the BRT are not nor have they ever been up to date that is public knowlege. They do in fact own and have an office in the multi unit apartment building they run behind the Y and it has a landline. That number has been given out at public meetings and on the message board here. As far as investigating them goes, They have shown all their cards, bent over backwards to go to public meetings with every civic organization and public official thety could find here and made every effort with all due diligence to make sure everyone knows exactly what is going on there and that is more than other for profit groups have done in Frankford. I think all the suspicion and doubt is partly race motivated by people who don’t want the Y to be a “black” thing. These are the same black democrats that Frankford voted in to office to run the city and Y is in the city. So where is the problem?

  13. The Y was a “black” thing for many years. I used the facilities at the Y 3 days a week for many years up until the day they closed the doors. I’ve lived in Frankford, a racially diverse community, for many years. Please don’t play the race card. Having a vision of Frankford that may be different than yours has nothing to do with race. Some used the race card against Kevin Phalen because some thought he was trying to turn Frankford into an all white neighborhood with the vision he had of Frankford. Using the race card simply tries to stop dialogue.

    Moving On:

    The BRT is not up to date on their postings, I agree, however there is a sale posting of another property on Leiper St. dated Jan. 2010. This is a simple matter of asking NFD why Grand Leiper Apts. is still showing as the owner.

    Being a nephew of an elected official and living in Northern Liberties does not make you a resident or business person in Frankford.

    NFD only showed up for one public meeting, that I’m aware of. The first meeting at Northwood Civic where they introduced their plan for the Y. However they did not show up for the meeting at Frankford Civic. The meeting at the restaurant last friday was not a public meeting.

    Ms. Sanchez and Mr. Payton were very wary of this project months ago due to lack of funding. Do they now have the funding?

    If you read their proposal they mention providing services to people in Recovery Homes. It was only when Mr. Clay voiced concern about providing these services that they took a step back on this. However, not being at the dinner last friday and just reading their proposal, my impression is that providing services to people in recovery facilities is an important part of their plan.

    If Barry Howell can see the financial records of the Y for free, perhaps you should contact him and let him know how to go about securing those records, it would save a lot of time and money.

    Regarding their business address and phone line: I would never hire a contractor to do a job in my home that did not show me proof of a physical address (not a P.O. Box).

  14. They attended a FCDC meeting and have met with all the local elected officials. Chaka is the person the locals voted for to represent them and Mr Bannister certainly is a local bussines person regardless of his home address. Terry Tobin doesn’t live in Frankford either so does that mean he shouldn’t have a say? They went to plenty of meetings and if they missed Danny Savage’s civic meeting so what? They still met with plenty of others, way more than any for profit group I have ever seen in Frankford. They are not contractors so I don’t where you are going with that. And they do have an office it is located in the apartment building they run behind the Y off of Arrott Street. The annual audits of all 501-c-3 organizations are public record any one including Mr Howell can see them.

  15. Re: My statement regarding contractors working in my home. Sorry, I should have been more clear. What I meant was I would never do business with anyone who did not have their physical address either on their letterhead, business card or available through a google search.

  16. Isnt Chaka the same politican that is being investigated about the use of federal grant money that has flowed into his program, CORE Philly? now his nephew is going to get grants for the Y? Sorry I’m not sold, not sold at all.

  17. You don’t have to be sold on Chaka he is already voted in, not going anywhere you are stuck with him and all the other corrupt Democrats the voters keep in office. The piont is you can’t say these people are outsiders because one works in Frankford and the other was elected to represent part of it. By the standard of calling Bannister an outsider that resides in NL, you can call Tobin an outsider too who resides in Torresdale. Every Democrat leader in the city is being investigated for something. To me it comes down to Frankford getting back a resource that has been lost. There is no one else looking to turn this into a community center. It is this plan or the place sits and rots. To me having the place up and running again is better than having a blighted eyesore that will need to be demolished later like we had with Overington Park years ago.

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